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Probiotics are ‘good bacteria’ that are beneficial to the overall health of humans. These bacteria are found in fermented foods like yogurt and kefir as well as in probiotic supplements. The main function of probiotics is to boost your immune system by restoring the balance between good and bad bacteria in your gut. As per the World Health Organization, probiotics are defined as ‘live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host’. The health benefits of these probiotics can only be enjoyed when these probiotics contain live cultures.
Probiotics for Kids
Infants are first introduced to gut bacteria when they pass through the vaginal canal during childbirth. The gut flora of a child greatly depends on the gut flora of the mother - in fact, the mother passes her gut microbiome to her child. If the mother is on antibiotics or doesn’t have a balanced gut flora, chances are her kids will also have the same imbalance. This is one of the reasons why giving probiotic supplements to children is very essential. If a child is born through C-section, he or she will not be introduced to good gut flora and will be in need of probiotic supplements.
Some of the ways in which probiotics help infants and kids include:
Weak immune system
Approximately 70% of the entire immune system is located in the gastrointestinal mechanism. A gut bacteria imbalance could very well affect your overall immune system. If you want to boost your child's immune system, giving them a probiotic supplement or fermented food is the ideal way to do it.
A number of digestive problems such as colic, diarrhea, Crohn’s Disease, acid reflux, and constipation have been linked to an imbalance in gut flora. Taking probiotic supplements restores the balance and may in turn help treat these digestive ailments. A recent study found that probiotics had a positive effect on children who had constipation by increasing the stool frequency.
Probiotics may actually help in solving weight issues in children. Recent research suggests that probiotics may be able to reduce body fat in children who are overweight. These good bacteria are thought to be able to do this by altering the gut microbiome of children.
Brain development and skin problems
Studies have shown that there is relationship between gut flora and brain functioning. According to another study, the skin becomes more vulnerable to infection and inflammation when the gut flora is imbalanced. Children’s skin is particularly susceptible to skin problems like rashes, baby acne, and rashes. There has been evidence that using probiotics can reduce the risk of children developing eczema.
Probiotics for Adults
If you've ever taken antibiotics, chances are that there is an imbalance between good and bad bacteria in your gut. This is because antibiotics kill bacteria indiscriminately, including the good kind. Some of the other reasons to consider taking probiotic supplements as an adult include:
May reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases
Various scientists have theorized that probiotics can help lower your cholesterol, thereby, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. One study has tried to examine the mechanism through which probiotics reduces the cholesterol in the body.
Takes care of antibiotic-associated diarrhea
One of the side-effects of using antibiotics for pneumonia or some other condition is developing diarrhea. Research has shown that probiotics can help in reducing Clostridium difficile – associated diarrhea (CDAD) without any adverse effects.
Strengthening your immune system
Several strains of probiotics boost your immune system and help you fight infections such as flu and common cold. A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies found that probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium were effective in lessening the duration of acute respiratory infectious conditions, both in adults and children.
Probiotics for Children vs. Adults: The Difference
While probiotics have numerous health benefits for all age groups, there are differences in the probiotics used for kids and those used for adults. The first difference is the type of probiotic strains used in the supplements. For example, Bifidobacterium infants is a probiotic strain that is predominantly used for infants (as it helps break down lactic acid in breast milk). On the other hand, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus GG are the most common strains used in adult probiotic supplements.
Another difference between the probiotics for kids and adults is the potency and the dosage of the supplement. While probiotic supplements given to kids is mild and the dosage is usually one sphere (or tablet) per day, the probiotic supplement of adults is more potent and dosage is usually two tablets per day.
Last but not the least is the way the supplement is administered. For infants and kids, it is usually in the form of a liquid, a sphere, a chewable tablet, or a powder that can be mixed with their food. For adults, the supplements are generally in the form of tablets or capsules.
LoveBug Probiotics offers supplements for people of all ages. Tiny Tummies is specially formulated for kids up to 4 years of age, whereas Little Ones are for children over 4 years of age. Adults can choose between Here’s the Skinny (digestive health), Cold Sucks (immunity boost), Yeast is a Beast (yeast infections), and Labor of Love (pre and post-natal) based upon the need.
Alissa C. Nicolucci, Megan P. Hume, Inés Martínez, Shyamchand Mayengbam, Jens Walter, Raylene A. Reimer. Prebiotic Reduces Body Fat and Alters Intestinal Microbiota in Children With Overweight or Obesity. Gastroenterology, 2017; DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2017.05.055
American Gastroenterological Association. (2017, June 7). Prebiotics reduce body fat in overweight children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 30, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170607123949.htm
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Huang, R., & Hu, J. (2017). Positive Effect of Probiotics on Constipation in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Six Randomized Controlled Trials. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 7, 153. http://doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2017.00153
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