DO PROBIOTICS WORK?
Let’s start with a mini biology lesson: Trillions of bacteria already live in your child’s (and your own) gastrointestinal system, many of which are considered to be good because they help keep him healthy. They’ve been there since birth, when your baby’s GI tract became colonized with good, bad, and benign bacteria (known as flora) as he passed through the birth canal and picked up some of your microbes. Because babies delivered by C-section miss out on this, they initially end up with a different collection of flora, explains Mary Ellen Sanders, Ph.D., a microbiologist and the executive director of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics. (Scientists suspect that this difference in colonization may be behind the higher incidence of allergies and asthma in C-section babies, but more research is needed.)
If you breastfeed, you help your baby build up more good bacteria, because breast milk contains substances known as prebiotics that promote the growth of healthy bugs. They supply nutrients to the living bacteria and enhance their ability to survive and thrive in your child’s gut. “By shaping the content of an infant’s gastrointestinal tract, breast milk also helps ‘educate’ the developing immune system,” says David Mills, Ph.D., a University of California, Davis microbiologist. (Prebiotics are also found in high-fiber foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.) Once your child weans and starts on solid foods, his gut microflora will change, and then remain pretty much constant throughout his or her lifetime.
But there are outside forces that may throw off the balance. Antibiotics, for instance, can kill both bad and good bacteria in your child’s gut flora — and that can lead to gastrointestinal distress. “About 20 to 30 percent of kids develop diarrhea when they take antibiotics,” says Daniel Merenstein, (M.D., director of research in the department of family medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center, in Washington, D.C). Various diseases, too, can disturb this otherwise fixed amount of microflora.
Some research has shown that consuming probiotics through foods or supplements can positively affect your child’s balance of bacteria, and consequently, his health.
Some Ways Probiotics Can Help.
Colic: A study published in Pediatrics in 2007 found that colicky infants who took Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis, saw results within one week. On the fourth week, the babies were crying for only 51 minutes a day, compared with 145 minutes for the infants who were given simethicone, the active ingredient in many OTC anti-gas products. “These results were startling, and we need more research,” says Dr. Merenstein.
Diarrhea: “Probiotics can’t make tummy troubles go away, but it’s possible that they may reduce diarrhea by one day and make the symptoms less severe,” explains Dr. Thomas. The probiotic group Lactobacillus was found to be safe and effective in treating infectious diarrhea in children, according to a study in Pediatrics. The strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (aka LGG) and Saccharomyces boulardi have both been successful in treating antibiotic-associated diarrhea, found a 2007 review of ten randomized controlled trials. You’ll find these strains in therapeutic doses in over-the-counter supplements.
Intestinal problems: Ask your pediatrician about probiotics if your child has a chronic condition like irritable bowel syndrome or an inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. Several studies have shown that the probiotic strains may reduce the severity of kids’ abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, gas, and/or diarrhea. And new research from Italy found that constipated babies who were given L. reuteri had more frequent bowel movements after two weeks than those who were given a placebo.
Eczema: “Studies have shown that probiotics can be helpful with eczema flare-ups triggered by milk allergies,” explains Alan Greene, M.D., a clinical professor of pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine. In an ongoing Finnish study published in The Lancet, infants whose family members had a history of eczema or allergies were either given LGG prenatally (in other words, the mothers took probiotics while they were pregnant) and until they were 6 months old, or they were given a placebo. Researchers found that the children who took the LGG were half as likely to have developed eczema than those who took the placebo. (LGG is the probiotic strain found in Culturelle products.)
The bottom line:
Probiotics are considered safe for healthy children. And while more research is needed before doctors can begin prescribing probiotics for specific childhood illnesses (as they do with antibiotics), it’s certainly worth considering.
My Recommendation: Bio Care Brand.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR GUT HEALTH WITH BIOCARE’S LIVE BACTERIA SUPPLEMENTS
According to the World Health Organisation, probiotics (Live bacteria) are ‘living microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’. They are ‘friendly’ bacteria that live in the gut and have a positive influence on many aspects of human health.
Discover The Benefits Of Live Bacteria Supplements
Probiotic bacteria help us to maintain the balance of bacteria within the gut and digest foods properly. It may also be important in non-allergy related food intolerance reactions due to improved digestion and better absorption of nutrients.
At BioCare®, we’ve developed an award-winning, best-selling range of high quality Live bacteria supplements that are:
• Highly potent
• Effective – The LAB4 live bacteria complex has been used in a wide range of well-designed clinical trials.
• Pure – Our Live bacteria range is dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan (with the exception of Baby BioFlora) and contains minimal additives in product manufacture.
• Safe and Stable – Our human strain probiotics are completely safe, acid resistant, and with proven ability to adhere to the gut wall.
• Flexible – We have a range of low, medium and optimum dose products both in capsule and powder form.
The exceptional stability of our probiotic supplements also means that the stated potency is correct right up to the end of the shelf life.
Using The Innovative LAB4 Complex
In many of our products we use the unique LAB4 complex of bacteria which consists of 2 specific strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus with Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium lactis.
• LAB4 strains are native to the human digestive tract, acid-stable, and readily adhere to the intestinal walls. They have been tested extensively and have proven clinical efficacy.
We also use other well-researched strains when clinically required, such as Lactobacillus salivarius and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Lactobacillus Lactis.
Our live bacteria supplements are beneficial for adults and children alike, with special formulas designed for children, and many also suitable for use during pregnancy, having been specifically tested for safety.
Baby Infantis Powder – Buy Now
Contains Bifidobacteria live probiotic bacteria (found in breast milk) and is suitable for children of all ages but most appropriate to infants prior to weaning. A 1/4 teaspoon/1 gram contains four billion live bacteria.
Easily mixed into a paste with sterile water or added to soft food for consumption
Provides a single strain of Bifidobacterium lactis
Bifidobacteria are the main friendly intestinal bacteria in breast-fed infants
Contains Fructooligosaccharides (F.O.S.)
Human strain and acid resistant
Vacuum packed for stability
Suitable from 6 months of age and ideal for young children or those who have difficulty swallowing capsules or tablets
Easily mixes into milk, juice, yoghurt or pureed foods
Dairy-free and formulated with the intolerant individual in mind
Contains vitamin D which is needed for normal growth and development of bone in children
Iodine contributes to the normal growth of children