What are the benefits of probiotics for kids?
From the moment they’re born, you’re thinking about your children’s health. Are they getting enough of all the good stuff in life? More sunshine and less screen time? Tasty treats plus necessary nutrition?
Just like making sure your kids get their 5-a-day (even that can be tricky with picky eaters), looking after them from the inside out is so important – and their gut is a good place to start. Just like adults have to look after their gut health, kids need the same kind of care for their gut microbiome, which is why you might want to think about probiotics for kids.
Kids start building up their own unique gut microbiome in the womb, so it’s already functioning by the time they’re born. The microbiome in their gut is made up of millions of good and bad bacteria and other microorganisms – called gut flora. Healthy gut flora helps to keep their immune systems strong and may even help with certain conditions. There are a few ways you can do this, including probiotic foods or adding a children’s probiotic supplement to their diet – and if you’re keen to try one after you read our article, we’ve got an exclusive offer on Optibac For Babies and Children for the month of November: order at least one Optibac For Babies and Children 30, 60 or 90 sachets, and get one of the same size free.
- What are probiotics?
- Are probiotics safe for kids?
- Should kids take probiotics?
- What is a children’s probiotic good for?
As we’ve mentioned above, everyone (including your little one) has a gut microbiome made up of millions of bacteria and other microorganisms. The good gut bacteria helps to keep your children’s immune systems running smoothly, but the bad ones can cause problems when there’s an imbalance. That’s why it’s important to keep their gut flora as happy as they are in a ball pit with unlimited ice cream.
Probiotics are actually living bacteria. The good kind that yours, and your kids’ gut, love. You can get them from certain foods like yoghurt or kimchi – but not all kids enjoy kimchi, so you might want to think about a children’s probiotic supplement. They can help to keep your kids’ tummies healthy which, in turn, can help to keep them healthy.
Totally! But – and this is a big one – if you’re considering probiotics for kids, look for ones that contain strains that have been specifically researched for their age group like Optibac For Babies and Children. Kids’ gut microbiomes are different from adults, but usually settle around 3 years of age, so they’ll need age-appropriate probiotic strains and dosages. If your kids have any underlying problems, serious illnesses or compromised immune systems, you should chat to a healthcare professional before giving them a children’s probiotic supplement.
A balanced gut flora is important throughout our lives – even when we’re kids. Even though your kids may seem fit and healthy, their gut microbiome can be easily upset so it’s good to keep them balanced with a children’s probiotic. There are quite a few factors that can influence their gut flora, like going to school with other children who may be unwell, stress (yup, even the little ones can suffer from stress), taking antibiotics or medications and an unbalanced diet. No judgement from us here, we know kids can be notoriously difficult to feed and prefer chocolate to kale (much like us).
You can try to introduce probiotic rich foods, such as:
- Yoghurt: Kids usually like yoghurt, but be sure to choose natural, sugar and fat free types.
- Tempeh: You can find this in most bigger shops. It’s a fermented soybean product that tastes quite nutty, a bit like peanut butter.
- Gherkins: Not all kids will like these, but if yours do, that’s a win for probiotics.
- Some cheeses: Who doesn’t love a nibble of cheese? Plus, some of them, like cheddar, brie, edam and cottage cheese contain helpful probiotics. So does stilton… but we don’t know many kids who like this strong cheese.
There are other foods such as olives, miso and kimchi that also contain probiotics, but they’re not traditionally enjoyed by kids, so we’ve not added them to our list. We’re all about the easy wins.
If you find that your kids aren’t getting probiotics from their food, you could try a children’s probiotic supplement like Optibac Kids Gummies, which contain natural ingredients and are jam packed with gut friendly bacteria for kids 3 and older. They’ve also been extensively taste tested by kids, who love them. Remember to keep them in a safe place so they don’t all get gobbled up when you’re not looking.
There are many reasons why you might want to introduce a children’s probiotic supplement to their diet. One of the reasons may be to ensure they maintain a healthy gut, but there is some evidence that probiotics can help with specific conditions. Here’s a short run down:
Digestion and energy
Yes, we know, it doesn’t seem like your kids need more energy. Don’t worry though, probiotics are not likely to have them running around the house. They’ll just make sure that your kids absorb the nutrients from the food they eat, which fuels their little bodies. A healthy gut microbiome goes a long way to providing the digestive enzymes needed to break down food.
Keeping kids healthy
If your kids are old enough to go to nursery or school, you’ll know all about the bugs they encounter there – and bring home with them. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about that, but you can give their immune systems a good fighting chance. About 70% of the immune system is in your gut, which is why probiotics for kids are good for supporting their immune systems and helping to ward off the little nasties they find at school.
It’s a sad fact that a lot of children suffer from mental health issues, and it’s thought that probiotics may be able to help change mood. Have you heard of serotonin? That’s the hormone that makes us feel happy – and what’s interesting about this chemical is that about 90% is produced in your gut. Having a happy tummy and microbiome can help in this process, so getting those probiotics in can potentially help to make your little ones feel happier.
Your kids will most likely suffer from constipation at some time in their young lives. But, before you reach for a laxative to loosen things up, you may want to try a children’s probiotic that contains Bacillus coagulans. It’s a mouthful, we know. But some research has shown that it may reduce constipation and straining in children. Optibac Kids Gummies contain this live culture (good bacteria), so you may want to give it a go.
Antibiotics are one of modern medicine's most amazing inventions. However, when they get rid of bacteria, they tend to get rid of the good and bad bacteria at the same time. So, even though they do a great job of making your little one well again, they can also upset their gut microbiome. Taking specific probiotics for kids can help to keep things balanced. Look out for ones that contain live cultures that won’t be affected by the other medication they’re taking. Chat to your healthcare professional or a pharmacist for advice on which one is best for your little one.
There are a number of other conditions that a children’s probiotic can potentially help with, although more research is needed in a few of these areas. Optibac has put together a brilliantly informative article about them, which you can read here.
Got all the info you need? We’re glad to help… and remember, if you want to try children’s probiotics, we’ve got an amazing offer right now with Optibac. Order at least one Optibac For Babies and Children 10, 30 or 90 sachets, and get one of the same size free – so if you’re ordering one pack of 30 sachets to try, you’ll end up with two, for the price of one!
Order one size of Optibac For Babies and Children to get the same size free. Order from us today before 8pm, and we’ll get it all packed and delivered to your door tomorrow.