How to Improve Your Child's Gut Health in 5 Simple Steps: Step 2
If you've been following my gut health series, you're up to speed on the importance of gut health, the risk factors for gut dysfunction in children and the first step to improving your child's gut health.
Now you're ready for...
Step 2: Supplement with a High Quality Probiotic
Probiotic is another name for the “good bugs” that live in our bodies - the beneficial bacteria and yeasts that help keep our guts healthy.
Probiotic supplements contain live, good bacteria naturally found in our bodies. They may have one type of bacteria, or a blend of several species.
Research suggests that kids who missed out on beneficial birth canal bacteria and/or protective breast milk bacteria will benefit from taking a high quality probiotic.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist. Please consult your pediatrician before supplementing with a probiotic.
The preliminary research on probiotics for children is encouraging:
- When given to pregnant and breast-feeding mothers, probiotics may reduce the development of eczema and allergies in their infants.
- When given in the first three months of life, probiotics may help prevent colic, constipation and reflux.
- When taken after a course of antibiotics, probiotics may help restore the population of good bacteria and minimize gut irritation.
Unlike making dietary changes, this intervention is simple and easy!
There are many great and affordable options on the market - my boys currently take this tasty, chewable one and in the past, they've taken this one.
Caution: not all probiotics are created equal. A few rules of thumb:
- The more strains of bacteria, the better
- Look for one that contains the following: Lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and soil based organisms (SBOs)
- Look for one which lists the genus, species, and strain
Tip- don’t order probiotics on line (most require refrigeration). Get them at a local apothecary, pharmacy or health food store (Whole Foods is a good option).
Remember: Consult your pediatrician and/or functional medicine doctor before you decide on a probiotic.
Here are some questions to ask:
- Should my child take a probiotic?
- What are the benefits?
- Are there any risks?
- What brand do you recommend?
- What dosage should my child take and for how long?
Is your child currently taking a probiotic? Which one? Has it been helpful? Leave your comments and questions below. The Sensory Mom community and I would love to hear from you.
Stay tuned for Step 3 to improve your child's gut health...