Do Your Kids Need Probiotic Supplements?
One of the most effective natural, and safest ways to boost your family’s immunity and digestive health is by adding a probiotic into their routine. What’s even better is that probiotics are designed for kids! But how can you decide which one is best for your child?
What are the benefits of probiotics for kids?
Researchers are still learning about all the benefits of probiotics on children and how they work. Just like with adults, probiotics for kids may help benefit their body in several ways:
- Aid indigestions
- Wards off infectious disease
- Help maintain a healthy weight
- Create vitamins for the body
- Strengthen the immune system
- Reduce symptoms of certain digestive disorders like ulcerative colitis and IBS
- Improve metabolic functions
- Reduce the severity of certain allergies
- Maintain the right balance of bacteria in the gut
- Improved dental health
- Reduce the risk of certain types of diarrhea, including from difficile infections and antibiotics
Several studies indicate probiotics help children with digestive issues like:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Infectious diarrhea
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Are probiotics safe for children?
Probiotics are generally safe for kids unless they have a compromised immune system or cancer. Children with a central line or port should also avoid probiotics. Other than that, no serious side effects have been found from taking consuming probiotic foods or from taking probiotic supplements. Most doctors recommend parents to wait until their child is over one year old before giving them probiotics. For probiotic supplements, your child’s pediatrician can instruct you as to dosage and frequency.
Side effects from probiotics can include nausea, rashes, constipation, and bloating. These symptoms are usually mild and only last a short time, but may differ for each child. Always take advice from your child’s GP before giving them probiotic supplements or if you are concerned about any side effects.
Probiotic foods vs supplements, what’s better?
Yogurts and cultured cheese have added probiotics. They are naturally occurring in fermented foods like kefir, sauerkrauts, and buttermilk. Raw cheese made from unpasteurized milk is another source of probiotics. These food products are beneficial for most adults, but they are not suitable for children. Raw milk, for example, may contain harmful bacteria that are life-threatening. Getting children to eat more probiotic foods could also be challenging, as these foods are not children’s foods.
What’s better then? Getting nutrients from whole foods is usually the best. But giving them probiotic supplements is another practical way adding their daily dose of beneficial bacteria.
With probiotics, your child may not get enough of the probiotics they need from food alone. In foods, probiotics could be lost during production and storage processes. You won’t know exactly how much made it out alive unless you have a lab in your kitchen.
Remember that probiotic supplements are not multivitamins. They contain specific strains of bacteria of a group of different bacteria. Each with different effects on the body. When you choose probiotic supplements for your child, always read the labels. Always buy supplements from reputable brands. Check the expiration dates before giving them to your kids. Also, note whether your product requires refrigeration.