Literally meaning “for life“, probiotics are supplements that contain selected strains of friendly bacteria that assist our health. Recent research shows that these live microorganisms provide a natural and simple way to ward off digestive disorders and colds in kids.
A last year study conducted by Italian scientists suggests that probiotic supplements containing Lactobacillus reuteri may help treat chronic constipation in babies. The researchers led by Dr. Paola Coccorullo divided 44 infants that suffered from chronic constipation into two groups.
After eight weeks, the infants taking probiotics experienced a significant improvement in their constipation. As a result, the frequency of their bowel movements increased from less than three to almost five per week. “Because of their safety profile, probiotics may be an attractive option in the treatment of functional constipation,” concludes the study.
Constipation isn’t the only ailment that can be relieved by probiotics. Another Italian study has shown that Lactobacillus rhamnosus may ease kids’ belly aches. Dr. Ruggiero Francavilla and his team studied 141 children who were assigned either to Lactobacillus rhamnosus or a placebo. During the treatment period, the scientists noticed that, on average, the frequencies of stomach aches fell from four to one per week. Plus, the kids experienced a significantly lower level of pain.
If that wasn’t enough, one study performed in China suggests that probiotics may also prevent colds in children. The researchers found that children, who drank a mixture of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium animalis in milk twice a day, required less antibiotics to treat colds and the flu and recovered more quickly from illness. The reduction in symptom rates was impressive – the children in test groups experienced fewer fevers (up to 72 percent), coughs (62%) and runny noses (59%). Kids who took probiotics also missed less school than those who didn’t.
Given recent research hinting at the therapeutic value of probiotics for the pediatric population, it becomes clear that gut health is as important for small children as it is for adults. You can learn more about probiotics and how they affect our health by reading the articles below.