Probiotics for Healthy Kids

Probiotics means ‘for life’

jackson.JPGYou have hundreds of trillions of bacteria in your digestive tract. They are a major part of your immune system. A healthy lower intestine should have about 85 percent of “good or friendly bacteria” or flora to prevent the over colonization of disease causing micro-organisms like E. coli and salmonella. Today, most people have that number reversed.

Probiotics simply means “for life.” When I ask someone if they take probiotics, I almost always get the response, “I eat yogurt.” Yogurt contains acidophilus, but that is only one of hundreds of friendly bacteria we need. Our bodies should have somewhere between 400 and 500 types of bacteria.

Probiotics inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria which cause digestive stress; they improve digestion and absorption of vitamins; stimulate the immune system, and help make vitamins needed by the body.

Jackson is speechless. He had no idea that hundreds of trillions of bacteria were in his digestive track!

Gut flora can become unbalanced by illness, stress, and drugs, especially antibiotics. It just makes plain sense, that a drug called an “antibiotic” will kill even the helpful bacteria in the gut. Poor eating habits (fast and junk foods) and chlorinated drinking water also damage the intestinal flora.

Elizabeth Lipski, Ph.D. says in her book, Digestive Wellness for Children, “The first two years of life are critical for our long-term immune responses. Bacterial colonization patterns set up in infancy continue to prevail throughout our entire lifetime-and the foods and drugs to which we expose our children dramatically affect this delicate balance.”

Probiotic supplementation promotes health in infants. Probiotics enhance digestion and mineral absorption. They prevent diarrhea and diaper rash, eczema and cradle-cap. Probiotics have been found to decrease anemia and asthma and diminishes milk allergies and they eliminate thrush.

In older children, probiotics have been found to reduce the severity and frequency of childhood respiratory infections and help to prevent irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, and constipation. Because digestion is vital for health, children with various illnesses and syndromes have been shown to improve on some level when nutrition is addressed along with the addition of probiotics. You’ll want to consider probiotic supplementation especially for kids with allergies, ADHD, Autism (and the entire Autism spectrum), Celiac Disease, Constipation, Cradle Cap, Diarrhea, Diabetes, Halitosis, (bad breath), Eczema, and Leaky Gut Syndrome.

There are probiotics designed especially for infants and children. When shopping for probiotics look for lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Lactobacilli is found in the small intestine and bifidobacteria is found in the colon. You can purchase probiotics for children at your whole foods store or online.

You’ll also want to read, Probiotics Found in Food: Click Here.

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