19 Aug Probiotics for Good Children’s Health
More and more, research is showing that the microbiome (i.e. your gut bacteria) is foundational for your child’s good health, especially when it comes to having a robust immune system. For example, the gut bacteria coordinates how active the immune system is (which is important for fighting off infections), while also ensuring your child’s immune system doesn’t become over-active when exposed to things that are foreign to the body (e.g. allergies). Your child’s gut bacteria is also important for maintaining digestive health. As such, when the balance of healthy species within our gut bacteria is lost (due to the effects of a low fibre diet or antibiotics), gut symptoms such as excessive bloating and gas can result.
When the microbiome becomes imbalanced, they need to be restored, which is where probiotics can help to replace what has been lost. However, it is not just a case of adding in any kind of bacteria; the right ‘type’ of probiotic needs to be used for the right purpose. Whilst you can’t always avoid factors that can reduce microbiome health, restoring its bacterial balance with probiotics is achievable for everyone throughout their lifespan.
Probiotics in Pregnancy Do Double Duty
The health of a mother’s microbiome helps determine the health of her baby’s microbiome, and their subsequent immune and digestive health. Several probiotic strains have been shown to improve the mother’s microbiome, including Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis), which support healthy blood sugar levels in pregnancy, and also lowers the chance of infant eczema and infections. Additionally, Bifidobacterium breve and Bifidobacterium longum may help to reduce the risk of allergy in infants. Choosing the right probiotics in pregnancy is therefore important to support the health of both mother and baby.
Microbial Building Blocks for Babies and Toddlers
After birth, a baby’s microbiome is influenced by the microbes it comes into contact with during delivery, breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact. The microbiome continues to change rapidly up until around three years of age, where it stabilises, resembling an adult’s microbiome.
In the early days however, the baby’s microbiome plays an important role in immune system development, in to order to cope with exposure to germs from the outside world.
However, when antibiotics are introduced to treat infections (such as ear or throat infections), this can imbalance the microbiome, leading tochildren developing more infections as a result of compromised immune function.
Several probiotic strains have been shown to support microbiome development7 and the immune system, including Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis, Bifidobacterium breve and Bifidobacterium longum. Research tells us that a combination of these strains can reduce a sore throat, as well as ear, nose and chest infections, which can lower the need for antibiotics, helping reduce illness in babies and toddlers.
Probiotics for the Bigger Kids
Moving into childhood, the microbiome continues to influence immune and gut health, and helps protect against common infections in the schoolyard. Key probiotic strains including Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus acidophilus can be used to promote microbiome health, reduce the risk of respiratory infections,prevent the need for antibiotics, and reduce digestive discomfort;16 meaning fewer days off school and more time for your kids to do the things they love.
Brisbane Child Naturopath | Children’s Naturopath Brisbane
Adelaide Child Naturopath | Children’s Naturopath Adelaide
Sydney Child Naturopath | Children’s Naturopath Sydney
Perth Child Naturopath | Children’s Naturopath Perth
Kids Nutritionist | Children’s Nutritionist | Baby Nutritionist