Probiotics, also known as beneficial bacteria, have a number of wonderful health benefits for people of all ages. But there are special benefits available for health when parents include probiotics in the diets of infants and young children. From stomach problems to developmental milestones, these good bacteria can help your child have a healthier and happier childhood. Though probiotics can be helpful, it is recommended to only use them occasionally, if at all (once every few months) because it is better to get healthy bacteria through the foods that you eat (ie. yogurts etc.). The following are some of the top benefits of probiotics.
Benefits of Probiotics
1. They can help lessen the severity and duration of bouts of diarrhoea and constipation for young children. The good bacteria help regulate the functions of the stomach and intestines and help alleviate the symptoms and problems associated with the digestive tract, including the terrible infant illness of colic.
2. There are studies that have shown that certain forms of Probiotics can help lessen and even prevent outbreaks of eczema in babies and children. It is not fully understood what the connection exactly is but there does seem to be a strong correlation that is still being researched.
3. In low weight and severely premature babies, probiotics have been shown to help reduce the severity and instances of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). NEC is the death of the intestinal and digestive tissue in small underweight underdeveloped babies. Certain probiotics that can be given in the NICU and under the guidance of a doctor have been shown to help regulate and protect the underdeveloped stomach and intestines of premature and tiny babies.
4. Babies and toddlers who are receiving formula or formula supplements can also benefit from the addition of probiotics. There are formula brands that include beneficial bacteria in their mixes to ensure the health and strong development of formula fed babies.
5. Some Probiotics are also showing signs of being useful in treating symptoms of the common cold and may lessen the severity of outbreaks and help lessen their duration.
6. Certain strains of these powerful fighters can even help protect against infections such as E.coli and other potentially serious infections.
7. Breast milk contains good bacteria that help keep a baby’s system regulated and it also has a benefit for mom. Certain probiotics produced by a mother’s body help to prevent and fight infections and help to keep children’s digestive systems on track as they develop.
8. Some Probiotics can help reduce instances of reflux, spit up, and indigestion in infants by calming the stomach and reducing the influx of acid that causes these problems.
9. Some studies show that acne may show an improvement when the stomach bacterial count is at the correct level. It is not fully understood but it is believed to be caused by the regulation of the body’s systems and the communications between the brain and the body’s hormonal signals. Hormones out of balance can cause many issues such as acne and skin disorders.
10. Helps reduce respiratory infections and complications for the first few years of life. This is thought to be accomplished by regulating the bodily systems as they develop and help to keep everything in check and running smoothly. A non-stressed out bodily system means a happier and healthier child.
While these and many of the other benefits of Probiotics are wonderful and very good for babies, infants, and toddlers, care must be taken. Probiotics should be seen as a form of medication and should be given to children only under the supervision and direction of their doctor. Giving too many doses of probiotics can damage and stress out the child’s still immature digestive system. Take full advantage of the benefits but be smart about it and you and your child will both be happier and healthier for it. Talk to Dr. Hamilton to see what he uses today.