We give our kids the best food in order to ensure that they grow up healthy and strong; it’s certainly never too early to start thinking about whether they’re getting enough nutrients and vitamins. What about giving our kids probiotics? As adults, probiotic supplements are common when it comes to restoring a digestive health that's ailing. However, can this line of reasoning be applied to the physical needs of kids as well?
Yes, kids can benefit from probiotics!
Probiotics have so many health benefits because they regulate the bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract by fighting harmful bacteria. Our gut’s health has implications on our digestive and immune system, metabolism and hormones (which affect our mood and mental health). This makes it really important that we consider boosting the gut health of our little ones too. Experts have found that digestive-tract microbes in children are fully matured at the age of about 2 to 3, so it definitely isn’t too early to start considering probiotic supplementation for our toddlers!
Which probiotics are suitable for kids?
Similar to every other vitamin, probiotics must be taken in moderation and the type we give our kids should be suitable for their age. The recommended strains of probiotics that match the little ones’ health requirements are Lactobacillus (for small intestine health), Bifidobacterium (for colon or large intestine health), and Saccharomyces boulardii (for protection of the gut lining). These come in chewable capsules, which makes it really easy to get the kids to eat up.
How do probiotics benefit children?
1. Fight stomach flu
Probiotics can help address one of the most common health conditions that kids experience: gastroenteritis – an inflammation of the stomach and intestines which causes diarrhoea and vomiting.
2. Reduce the side effects of antibiotics
Some kids tend to experience diarrhoea when they’re taking a course of anti-biotics for mild health conditions like a common flu or infection. If you’re a parent who’s worried because this condition is a recurring one for your child, consider introducing probiotics alongside the anti-biotics. Research has found that probiotics can reduce the side effects of anti-biotic consumption without interfering with the antibodies.
3. Reduce the impact of chronic IBS
For those of us who have irritable bowel syndrome, we know how horrible and discomforting to live in constant fear that our symptoms will flare up and leave us groaning over stomach aches. There’s no way you’d want that for your precious kids. If your kid is suffering from this unfortunate gastrointestinal problem, probiotics might at the very least help reduce the frequency of IBS symptoms.
Since probiotics are not a common choice of vitamin for young children, be sure to do your research as to whether probiotic supplementation is suitable for your child. This includes getting the green light from your paediatrician and making sure the probiotics you get are from trusted, quality suppliers. After all, your child’s health isn’t something you'd want take lightly.