Probiotics for kids? Yes, yes, yes. Children and stomachaches are like peanut butter and jelly, they just go together. But they don’t have to!
Probiotics are beneficial to everyone. They are live microorganisms that may be able to help prevent and treat certain illnesses. Probiotics are most well-known for promoting a healthy digestive tract as well as a healthy immune system.
Probiotics are considered “good” bacteria because they keep your gut healthy. You might be thinking, “GROSS, I don’t want bacteria in my tummy, and especially not my kid’s tummy”. But, you actually do.
Can you take a guess at how many bacteria are in your body right now? Try 100 trillion. I’m not joking! Some studies suggest that each human has around a pound or two of bacteria living in their guts.
You might as well push for the good bacteria.
Why Kids Have Stomach Aches
As a parent, you should be very grateful that your child has the ability to feel pain. Pain is how your body tells your brain that something isn’t right. This is important so that you can fix the problem, instead of masking the pain.
- Bacterial infections: food poisoning, UTIs, strep throat, pneumonia, or toxic shock syndrome. These infections are the reason why people think all bacteria are bad.
If your kiddo has any of these bacterial infections, he will most likely be prescribed an antibiotic by a doctor. Within 1-2 days, poof, he will be cured. Here’s the thing, antibiotics literally means “to destroy life”. So you can guess what probiotics means, “life-giving”. Antibiotics are great because they kill the bad bacteria making your child sick, but they also kill the good bacteria. That’s why your doctor might recommend that your child eat yogurt (yummy probiotics) when they take their antibiotics.
Over time, the more antibiotics you take, the more good bacteria will be killed off, so it needs to be replaced.
Taking a probiotic helps repopulate the good bacteria that can help fight future infections.
- Viruses: stomach flu.
Antibiotics don’t help against viruses, but do you know what does? Probiotics :). When a virus gets in your intestinal tract, good bacteria surround and neutralize the virus. Good bacteria forms a barrier along your intestinal lining which prevents the virus from passing through the lining and into the bloodstream. To sum it up, taking a probiotic/prebiotic daily helps build up your immune system so that you have some internal protection fighting off outside viruses.
- Constipation: Probably the most common reason for tummy aches due to improper diet.
If you are a first-time parent, you might have been surprised to find out that it’s common for babies to deal with constipation. Red face, lots of grunts, and then you open the diaper to find…nada. But mamas and papas, let’s be honest, we all deal with some constipation every now and then. Maybe it’s from certain meds, your diet, or most commonly dehydration. The right bacteria in your gut help produce enzymes to digest food, it also helps break down your stool. Probiotics help you get it done!
- Irritation and Inflammation: appendicitis, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease.
When we have an infection or an illness our immune system responds with inflammation. A recent study by the Arthritis Foundation found that Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium help the body speed up treatment of certain infections; reducing gas, bloating, preventing or reducing colds and flu; improving blood pressure and helping with symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Why Are Probiotics and Prebiotics Important For Kids?
Our gut health is affected by our environment, experiences, diet, and medications. You can help your kiddos out by making sure they get a healthy diet every day but if we are being honest with ourselves, that doesn’t always happen.
Same with medications. As we mentioned above, antibiotics are amazing for killing infections. They are also amazing for killing the good guys too.
Probiotics and prebiotics are the bodyguards (and you are Whitney Houston). They are on guard 24/7 to help protect you. And in the end, you might just fall in love with them.
Let’s break down why you should take pre and probiotics:
When Being Regular is Cool
The gut is widely called the second brain. This underrated and oftentimes forgotten organ system not only affects digestion, but it is also linked to mood, health, and even the way you think. Have you ever felt butterflies when you’ve been nervous? Or maybe you had a tough decision to make and you just “went with your gut”. These are real things.
John Hopkins Medicine published a great article going into detail on, “The Brain-Gut Connection”. Long story short, the gut might not be capable of thought but it can communicate to the top brain and largely impact mood changes.
I don’t know about you but I would like to take care of both of my brains. If I can have my own internal bodyguards keeping me safe, I will take it.
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