Probiotic benefits for children: Why and How

A recent article published by Dr Mercola (probiotic benefits for children) discusses the benefits of probiotics for children’s health. The following is our summary plus some of our own ideas on introducing probiotics to young children.

Children inherit their initial gut microbes from their parents. Anything you do to support the good microbes in yourself and your children will reduce the likelihood of the bad microbes (bacteria, yeasts, and viruses) taking over (= getting sick). In fact, our gut microbes are strongly influenced by our parents’ microbiome (which includes those microbes living on the skin). Colostrum, a mother’s first milk when a baby is born, lines the intestines to create a protective barrier against “foreign” particles from crossing into the bloodstream (which may then elicit an allergic response). This lining also helps beneficial microbes grow and colonise in the gut.

80% of a child’s immune system resides in his/her gut (the same is true for you too). Thus a healthy balance of gut flora (microbes) is a large part of a healthy immune system.

Gut microbes are negatively influenced by (i.e., the following things hinder good microbes and/or encourage bad microbes):
– sugar,
– processed foods (in particular those with bioengineered ingredients),
– pollution,
– antibiotics,
– heartburn pills (due to reducing stomach acid),
– pesticides in foods,
– chlorinated water,
– stress.

Probiotics play the following roles:
– positively influence a child’s weight and metabolism by promoting good bacteria;
– may help reduce potential side effects from a vaccination;
support brain health;
– digestion of food and producing special nutrients a child needs;
– and support urinary tract health and vaginal health (in girls).

How
Start introducing probiotics slowly on young or ill children by:
-feeding a couple drops of the liquid from homemade fermented vegetables,
-mixing a couple drops of the homemade fermented veg liquid with breastmilk or water,
-mixing a couple drops of good quality kefir with breastmilk or water,
-giving a couple of drops of homemade fermented veg liquid using your finger while breastfeeding or bottle feeding,
-mix into mashed veg just before serving if on solids.

 

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