If you have young children, coughing and sniffling may seem like white noise to you at this stage of the cold and flu season. Recurrent infections can take their toll on children’s immune systems and make them more susceptible to picking up other viruses. If nasty bugs have been doing the rounds in your household, now may be the time to prioritize your children’s health. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that boost a child’s gut microbiome and, in turn, their immunity. Would a daily probiotic benefit your children?
Immunity starts with the gut
Approximately 70% of our immune system is located in the digestive tract. Gut bacteria play a huge role in developing a child’s immunity. Our immune systems begin to develop as soon as a baby travels through their mother's birth canal, interacting with beneficial bacteria. As you grow, there continue to be many things that shape the bacteria that live in your gut. Some of these factors can be difficult to change, such as genetics, stressful life events, or illnesses, but there are factors that we have control over, such as lifestyle behaviours and diet.
Our gut microbiome can easily become unbalanced, particularly by a round of antibiotics, which wipe out all of the bacteria in our gut, both good and bad. Often, if our gut microbiome is out of balance, we will develop digestive issues, low moods, and be more likely to catch a cold or flu. With that in mind, looking after our gut balance all year round, not just during the winter months, makes sense. Daily probiotics can restore balance to your children's digestive system, boost immunity, and enhance general well-being so they can enjoy more playtime with their friends.
Probiotics are good bacteria.
There are two most common types of probiotics supplements are:
Lactobacillus: This type of probiotic is found in many yoghurts, but it’s also found in fermented foods. It is beneficial to people who have difficulty digesting lactose, as well as helping children get over occasional bouts of diarrhea.
Bifidobacterium: A yeast known as Saccharomyces boulardii falls under this category and can be used as an alternative treatment for some digestive problems.
How do probiotics work?
Probiotics and the good bacteria they provide to the body improve overall health by interacting with other microorganisms, stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria, and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in our microbiome. They also create vitamins and produce compounds that reduce inflammation in the body.
Signs your child might need a probiotic
Just like multivitamin supplements, not every child will need a probiotic. Children with excellent digestive and overall health may be able to rely solely on their bodies to keep things running smoothly. However, if your child is getting several colds, flu, or coughs throughout the year, struggles with digestive issues, or has recently taken a course of antibiotics, then a probiotic supplement could benefit them.
To learn more about our current ‘Children’s Common Cold Study’ or to apply to take part, click here.