Probiotics for children are recommended to be taken on a daily basis especially for kids who attend a public daycare or school system. Children who regularly take probiotics have been shown to have lower rates of “daycare diarrhea.”
Probiotics also lessen the likelihood that school-age children and teens will contract the stomach flu and other illnesses that are passed around school.
It’s safe, easy, and certainly worth the positive health benefits to add probiotics to your child’s daily diet.
What are probiotics?
The word probiotics means “for life” and are healthy bacteria found in the digestive tract. These good bacteria work with the body to reduce gas, constipation, and diarrhea. They have also been shown to reduce colic in children and to significantly boost the immune system.
Are probiotics safe for children?
Absolutely. Because these healthy bacteria are naturally occurring microorganisms, the body is already familiar with them and generally produces no side effects when the nutrient is ingested.
Children can benefit from taking a probiotic supplement since there are only a few types of foods that offer the same health effects. Generally, fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and miso are a few of the only natural food sources for this friendly bacteria.
Children of any age can safely take a probiotic supplement, but it may be easier to coax a child into eating food that has had a powdered form of this supplement sprinkled on it, rather than trying to get him to swallow a pill.
Small children may experience problems swallowing capsules or tablets. A powdered form can be added to oatmeal, juice, milk, yogurt, applesauce, and even ice cream. It is tasteless and most kids never know they are taking this all important nutrient with their foods.
What Are the Benefits for Children and Teens?
It is estimated that the average child will take a regimen of at least four antibiotic treatments per year. Antibiotics destroy not only the bad bacteria that cause an illness, they also destroy the good bacteria that helps to keep the body’s system in balance.
Giving children probiotics during and after a treatment of antibiotics can completely stop diarrhea that can occur.
If a child has taken an antibiotic, many doctors recommend taking probiotics at least two weeks after completing the medicine. Giving a daily dose for health maintenance, whether a child is sick or not, is even better.
Teens can benefit from taking it daily, as it has been shown to reduce outbreaks of acne. Kids who have a suppressed immune system may also suffer from conditions later in life such as Crohn’s Disease, allergies, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Starting an early regimen of acidophilus bifidus or lactobacillus acidophilus can help prevent these diseases.
Can’t I just give my child natural yogurt or yogurt that has probiotics added to it?
It is recommended that children take this dietary supplement even if they are eating fermented foods like yogurt. Of course, natural yogurt is high in calcium and good for children. However, you would have to feed your child 40 regular-style yogurts per day just to get the proper amount of probiotics needed for optimum health.
The enhanced-style yogurts that contain additional friendly bacteria are a good extra precaution. However, a child would have to eat 14 cups a day in order to receive the recommended amount of probiotics for children.