Will Probiotics Restore Good Bacteria for Kids?

60 Comments

Do you think the rise in asthma, allergies, eczema  celiac, and other autoimmune disorders can be blamed on the lack of good bacteria in your gut?  Some are speculating that our ultra-clean and sterilized environment might be to blame for disrupting the balance of good vs. bad bacteria our bodies are host to.  While sanitizing, pasteurizing, washing our produce, and sterilizing everything we touch has done wonders to keep us from passing and acquiring many fatal infections and diseases, it may be harming our immune system in the process.

Our bodies are host to over 100 Trillion bacteria (about 5lbs worth!). We each develop a specific bacteria community, that is altered and changed for bad or good by a number of things.  Taking antibiotics, stress, the food you eat and even the dirt you ate as a child,will have an impact of what type of bacteria you host and how much of it!

Bacteria is beneficial to our digestive system because it assists with breaking down food for us, making food easy to digest.  Some bacteria respond to food in a negative way by producing uncomfortable gas as the food is consumed (lactose intolerance).  The “good bacteria” such as Acidophilus, produce toxins that make it difficult for the the bad bacteria or yeast population to grow.  Bad bacteria is only a problem when there is too much, or is permitted to grow out of control. The right balance of good and bad bacteria is an ideal community for health.

Will Probiotics Restore Good Bacteria for Kids? Who knew lacking bacteria could have such undesirable results?!

(Bacteria- Single celled micro-organism)

Will Probiotics Restore Good Bacteria for Kids? Who knew lacking bacteria could have such undesirable results?!

  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Ulcerative Colitis (which I do have!)
  • Eczema (maybe tied to a milk allergy)
  • IBS
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Weight Loss
  • Malabsorption

So the question today is will taking good bacteria as a supplement or certain foods actually restore that good bacteria that your bodies need?

Probiotics:

The term probiotics is used to describe helpful bacteria in supplemental form or food sources.   Scientifically speaking, restoring good bacteria into your gut really will lead to a healthier immune system, comfortable digestion, and overall good health.  But, my question is – will probiotics get you there?   A few things to consider:

  • Does the probiotic supplement contain actual live (or freeze-dried) bacteria?  Purchasing from a reliable supplement company, whose reputation is on the line might be the only way to get some good bacteria, as opposed to a bottle of snake oil. The lack of regulation with supplements make it important to buy a good brand.
  • Will the dose be appropriate?  (I’ve seen recommendations all over the board, but unless there is at least 1 billion parts bacteria, it might not be enough to be effective.)
  • Even if we supplement with bacteria, is our bacteria community genetically determined and eventually revert to it’s desirable balance? I’m curious about this!!
  • With the millions of strains of bacteria, does the supplement contain the strains you need? Bifidobacterium has been shown to prevent intestinal lining infections.  Saccharomyces boulardii has been shown to help with symptoms such as diarrhea.
  • Will yogurt, kefir, and other fermented foods be more bioavailable and not just pass through your system?  While fermented milk products may digest more effectively, supplements may contain strains that are not present in the milk products.  I think if you are trying to heal with probiotics, I would include both food sources and supplements!
  • Will the supplement survive the journey, or will it be killed before it has any impact?  Enteric coatings on supplements help control where the supplement is dissolved.  This way, it can pass through the stomach without being killed, and be absorbed by the intestines instead.

Personal experience:  I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at 12 years old and hypothyroid at 36 years old (both considered auto-immune issues).  I actually do take a probiotic and have been mostly symptom free for as long as I can remember.  I don’t know if it’s because of the probiotics, or my overall healthy eating, but every few years I have a colonoscopy and I usually get a clean bill of health.  I rarely have stomach pain or bleeding.

Will Probiotics Restore Good Bacteria for Kids? Who knew lacking bacteria could have such undesirable results?!

I am very curious about your experiences with probiotics

Have they helped eliminate any symptoms or diseases for you or your kids?


 

Sources

  • http://probiotic-research.com/
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc207122/
  • http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/100-trillion-good-bacteria-call-human-body-home-3683153.php
  • http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/brainwaves/2012/09/12/the-food-fight-in-your-guts-why-bacteria-will-change-the-way-you-think-about-calories/
  • http://www.puristat.com/coloncleansing/gutbacteria.aspx
  • http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics
  • http://www.celiac.com/articles/21685/1/More-Evidence-Links-Gut-Bacteria-to-Celiac-Disease/Page1.html
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257633/
  • http://www.nbcnews.com/id/27454348/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/#.UTi6oBzrdjw
  • http://www.livestrong.com/article/383282-how-to-choose-a-good-probiotic/
Will Probiotics Restore Good Bacteria for Kids?

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60 Comments

This post is so informative! I hope the Ultimate Flora probiotics help your son. We’re a soccer family too and I know I would try everything if it meant my kids could keep doing what they enjoy. Thanks for the post Amy!

Taking a probiotic everyday did help my son who would wake up with a stomach ache in the mornings. After a while he didn’t need them anymore.

Great post! I would LOVE any and all information about how your son responds and any alternative methods you’re using to control and eliminate his asthma. I have a 3 yr old with asthma and I am trying some alternatives and REALLY want to get her off her breathing meds ASAP. They just suppress the symptoms and don’t address the root cause!

Thanks Kristy- You’ll help to keep me accountable. Sometimes I start off excited about things like that and quickly forget to follow through. Knowing that you are waiting to see how it goes is going to help us stay consistent!!

Here’s an article I received via email this morning about probiotics and the acne connection. This is in reply to the one about who was wondering.
Also, Amy, you may find some of your great questions answered just by reading information on the body ecology website in general. Great info on what you’re looking for! We make our own homemade probiotics over here (sauerkraut, coconut water kefir) and have seen great improvements with health.

http://bodyecology.com/articles/can-these-3-foods-help-you-say-goodbye-to-acne?utm_source=The+Body+Ecology+Newsletter&utm_campaign=da30cf4258-MailChimp_Cleanse_Toxins_and_Other&utm_medium=email&mc_cid=da30cf4258&mc_eid=93d71573af#.UTTk2zAhxTV

I have a 3 year old son with asthma that has been on meds for a year. He had a very serious asthma attack the beginning of January. His pediatrician increased his steroids to help with the symptoms, which it did. We took him to a natural medicine doctor, learned through testing that he has a lot of food allergies that can be a trigger for his asthma. We started him on probiotics and a couple other supplements 5 weeks ago. We have been able to reduce his meds in half and he has been symptom free for the first time in a year. In addition to the probiotics we made some major food changes and eliminated all the food allergy items. Do your best to stay consistent and see if it helps. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to see my child running around and playing.

I have a 10 year old son who suffers from asthma. Could you please tell me what type of probiotic you gave him and what else you would suggest he try. Thankyou very much

Amy–this was really helpful. I’ve had Hashimoto’s for 19 years (medicated) but have recently had new symptoms–not gastro-but have wondered if probiotics might still be helpful. I appreciate your insight!

I just found your website and this is the first post I looked at. I really enjoyed it. I’ve been using goat milk kefir for about two years now and it’s done amazing things for me. I digest food a lot better and don’t have to eat as much. I have a sister-in-law who uses it for her children’s breakfast. Probiotics are amazing!

have you looked into raw milk at all? I started reading about it recently and I don’t know what to think. apparently dairy has all kinds of controversies.

Milk IS controversial! My goodness- However, I will not purchase raw milk for the only reason that I’ve seen/read too many kids get sick from Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. These can be fatal and is not worth the risk in my opinion. The harmful germs that are killed during pasteurization in my opinion is more important than keeping the good germs in milk. I think pasteurization is a good thing. 🙂

It’s worth a try! I think it is super helpful for any gastro problems- but hard to say if others would have the same success! I’d love to know if you try it. I’m headed to get some kefir this morning!

Hi Jen- I haven’t heard that homogenization is a harmful process. But, I haven’t investigated it either. Full fat milk I believe for children is great!

Awesome article! I think that too many people under-value the role of probiotics in their digestive health. My wife suffered from IBS symptoms for years before the doctor got her on a daily probiotic. She still has occasional bouts, but it is MUCH more manageable now. It’s also interesting to see how probiotics can affect thyroid health.

thyroid specialist texas

Hi Amy,

I’m currently battling a persistent bacterial infection that refuses to go away even after a course of antibiotic treatment. What’s the next best thing after antibiotics? I want to be able to beat this infection for good (doctor narrowed it down to an E Coli infection).

Alana

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What are the best brands of probiotics to use? Or what brands are your favorites? I would like to find a good one for my son that has Celiac Disease and really bad acne. I haven’t wanted to take him to a dermatologist because I know he will want to put him on an antibiotic that will mess up his gut even more.

As a dietitian I put my son on probiotics 8 years ago for lactose intollerance. He also drinks kefir and lactose free milk. He now only has problems if he does large amounts of dairy products and misses his probiotics for many days.
I have IBS and started probiotics 8 years ago too. Symptoms went away also with diet and exercise. 6 months ago my probiotic brand reformulated and the change caused symptoms to come back. Every probiotic works differently for different bacteria/issues. Try different ones. Love probiotics.

Thanks for such an informative post! I take probiotics for UTI health and since starting this supplement, I have gone from a UTI every six weeks to just one in a year. It works. I recently heard two researchers speak about the gut microbiota, Justin and Erica Sonnenburg, authors of The Good Gut. I plan to purchase the book, and I’ve been following their Facebook page for updates on the latest probiotic research. They encourage a high-fiber diet as a way to “feed” good gut bacteria and consuming fermented foods as a way to populate the gut with good microbes. I’ve been making a huge effort to get more fiber into my family’s diet since hearing them speak. And Janice and I hope to have them on our podcast in the coming months… so stay tuned! http://sonnenburglab.stanford.edu/press.html

Not trying to do the big sell here, but after trying multiple probiotics, my family and I have really had great results from the Plexus Probio5. It’s freeze-dried, shelf stable and has the coating that allows it to survive your stomach acid, includes the 2 strains you mentioned along with others and has an anti fungal. Please consider looking into it. It has helped considerably with asthma and allergies.

Great Article and very timely. I would like to give me 2 and 6 year old proboscis but they can’t swallow tablets. How would the probiotics survive if they are not coated and have you heard of any good brands for kids?

I recently discovered your site, made your zucchini bran muffins and me and my 1 year old loved them! Regarding this post, are you still taking medication for your thyroid and colitis? I’d be curious if you were able to wean off meds due to probiotics? I have thyroid issues and my husband has ulcerative colitis

Hi Erica- I do still take Thyroid medication, although the dosage has been lowered every single year since my diagnosis. I started at 125 mg, and now I’m down to 75mg. I do not take medication for ulcerative colitis. I am not consistent with probiotics, although I strongly believe a high plant diet encourages natural bacteria growth, so I do my best to get lots of fruits and veggies! Good luck to you!

I believe home made Yogurt is a good probiotic with good bacteria. Mostly Store bought yogurts contain bad bacteria. I make yogurt at home with whole milk and feed yogurt to my kids daily.

I started Giving my children a daily probiotic because my daughter was having serious immune system problems, and allergies to medications. Although it does not help with her allergies to medications, it has made an extreme difference in her overall health!! I am a firm believer in probiotics!

Diagnosed with severe Ulcerative Colitis at age 20. Medical grade probiotics VSL 3 (450 billion good bacteria per sachet) did NOT put my illness into remission. However, since my large bowel was removed the issues that I now have can be improved overnight but taking VSL. So I think it depends what condition you are hoping to improve by taking it and the amount of live bacteria in the probiotic as to how effective it will be.

My son battled ecxema and ring worn since he was 3 weeks old. Now he’s on a daily chewable vitamin with probiotic and his symptoms have almost gone away. We’re still working on his diet. He’s 3, and only likes bread, cheese and fruit. He also has daily stools that seem easy to pass, which has helped with potty training.

I agree with you that taking probiotics must come hand in hand with your healthy diet. And we all have sort of problems in diet with our babies as well as with us. Considering the help of supplements that will add up good bacteria to your body may be helpful. Nice blog!