Posted by Jennifer Carter

Making sure your child receives the probiotics he needs is critical.  Giving them a high-quality probiotic supplement can be a small yet powerful step to make a significant difference in your child’s well-being.

If you’re a parent like myself, then you know how frustrating it can be to get your children to eat the right foods. Sometimes it feels near impossible.  Did you know that some scientists claim that 80% of disease originates in the gut? So doesn’t it make sense to make sure that you protect your gut?

As you know, fast food is just one of many things that can harm your child’s gut flora. Foods purchased at fast food restaurants tend to contain unhealthy fats, sugar, and “bioengineered” ingredients. Processed foods, pollution, antibiotics, over-the-counter heartburn pills, pesticides in foods (this is why it is safer to just consume organic), chlorinated and fluoridated water, and even stress can all adjust that balance in the gut. Yes, even stress.

Balance is key in the gut. It is the balance that matters the most. A healthy balance is 85 percent beneficial to 15 percent “other” or less beneficial bacteria.  Everything should be done to support those optimal levels in your child’s gut which is why turning to a high quality probiotic supplement is necessary.  Let’s face it, your child isn’t going to consume fermented vegetables and most of us don’t have the time to make our own raw yogurt.

An alarming data point is that eighty percent of your child’s immune system resides in his or her gut.  The balance of gastrointestinal flora plays a large role in immune function. This is very important for your child’s health as he/she grows and his/her immature immune system becomes “tested” by viruses and allergens. So when you give your baby or child probiotics, you’re helping to support that protective barrier against “foreign invaders” or disease. Probiotics, when given to your infant or child, help build a healthy microflora and promote a healthy normal response to potential infections.  

Many parents are aware of the potential benefits probiotics can offer but may not be aware of the other benefits.  They surprised me. Here they are*:

  • Influences your child’s metabolism and weight by promoting the growth and survival of good, beneficial bacteria.
  • May help reduce potential adverse side effects from childhood vaccinations, if you choose to vaccinate, according to recent research.
  • Supports brain health during growth and development. Because there’s a close connection between your child’s gut and brain, the gut is often called the “second brain.”
  • Helps digest food and produce certain nutrients that your child’s body needs.

 When selecting a probiotic for your child, look for one that contains both acid- and bile-resistant strains of good bacteria so they can survive the stomach’s hostile environment and reach your child’s intestine.

*Dr. Mercola