04 Dec Why Probiotics are Important for Children Too
There are trillions of bacteria living throughout the digestive tract—some good, some bad. A proper balance of these organisms is essential for happy, healthy children, and probiotics are often a critical part of that balance.
Your child is born with a unique set of gut flora – their personal microbiome. The quality and diversity of the bacteria, both “good” or beneficial and less-than-beneficial or “bad,” are largely determined by mom’s microflora. A fetus gets his or her gut bacteria from mom during gestation, delivery, and through skin contact and breast feeding.
A mom’s gut flora is influenced by many factors, including the father’s microbiome. And either parent’s gut flora can be adversely affected by a number of things, such as processed or sugary foods, processed foods with bio-engineered ingredients, pollution, antibiotics, over-the-counter heartburn pills, pesticides in foods, chlorinated and fluoridated water, and even stress.
Ideally, when planning children, consider the health of your own gut flora first. Encourage your spouse or partner to do the same. That’s the best insurance you can give your baby for a healthy, diversified microbiome.
The easiest, and perhaps most reliable, way to maximize your beneficial gut microbes is to take a high-quality probiotic supplement each day. I recommend this for most individuals, especially prospective parents.
When talking about gut bacteria, it’s having good bacteria that matters. Anything you can do to support the levels of good microbes in your child’s gut will help her gut microbiome. This is why many parents today are turning to high-quality probiotics for their children.
Eighty percent of your child’s immune system resides in his or her gut, so the balance of gastrointestinal flora plays a large role in immune function. This is particularly important for your baby’s health as she grows and her immature immune system becomes “tested” by pathogenic bacteria and viruses, and potential allergens.
A newborn’s gut lining is permeable and can allow “foreign” materials to pass through into the bloodstream, increasing the potential for an allergic response. When a baby is breastfed, mom’s first milk or colostrum helps form a protective barrier on this mucosal lining. This protective barrier also serves as a breeding ground for beneficial microbes that help provide additional reinforcement.
When you give your baby or child additional probiotics, you’re helping to support that protective barrier against “foreign invaders.” Probiotics, when given to your infant or child, help build a healthy microflora and promote a healthy normal allergic response to potential allergens.
Researchers have also discovered the role that beneficial bacteria play in the activity of your genes. Probiotics direct the activity of hundreds of genes, which in turn, influence the messages sent to your cells. Beneficial bacteria can actually turn genes on or off!
Benefits of Probiotics for Children
Many parents are aware of the potential benefits probiotics can offer for their child’s immune health. But they may not be aware of all these other important roles that probiotics and a healthy gut flora play in their child’s health:
Influences your child’s metabolism and weight by promoting the growth and survival of good, beneficial bacteria. Having a healthy amount of gut microbes may be important for your child’s weight management throughout life, according to research.
May help reduce potential adverse side effects from childhood vaccinations, if you choose to vaccinate.
Supports brain health during growth and development. Because there’s a close connection between your child’s gut and brain, the gut is often called the “second brain.”
Helps digest food and produce certain nutrients that your child’s body needs.
Helps support urinary tract health and vaginal health (in girls) by helping to maintain healthy bacteria populations.
For infants and children, beneficial bacteria may be key to intestinal comfort. Studies show that babies who have an abundance of beneficial bacteria or receive probiotics tend to experience less gas, colic, and reflux, and have more regular elimination.
It’s ideal to start probiotics as early as possible to help promote a healthy gut microbiome. The sooner you can help correct a less-than-optimal microbiome and support the growth of beneficial microbes, the better.
If your infant or child must receive antibiotics, give probiotics before and after treatment. Most antibiotics indiscriminately kill microbes – both pathogenic and beneficial.
Making sure your child receives the probiotics they need is a valuable investment in their present and future health. You’re providing support in numerous ways, benefits that begin while they’re young and stay with them into adulthood.
Giving your child a high-quality probiotic like Rawbiotics KIDS can be a small yet powerful step to make a significant difference in your child’s well-being. Don’t forget to take care of yourself too by ensuring your own gut is well and balanced with Rawbiotics DAILY or Rawbiotics GUT – suitable for the whole family.
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