By Beth Aldrich
There’s been plenty of talk about probiotic supplements lately, but are they good for children? The answer at any age is yes. Probiotics are healthy bacteria in the gut that help make vitamin K and keep the digestive system healthy, which in turn keeps the immune system strong—offering extra defense this fluseason and all year long.
The human intestinal tract is home to millions of friendly bacteria whose job it is to make substances that help keep the cells in the intestinal tract healthy and to keep unfriendly bacteria, yeasts and molds in check. Sometimes the good bacteria and unfriendly bacteria (yeast and mold) become imbalanced—often because due to stress, antibiotics or an unhealthy diet including refined carbohydrates and little fiber.
The antibiotics that you take for killing an infection will also kill the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract. After antibiotic use, it is extremely important to replenish beneficial bacteria by taking a quality probiotic supplement over the following two weeks.
Allergies can also indicate that the immune system is under-functioning, and probiotics are thought to be ideal remedies. Acne and digestive disorders such as acute diarrhea, colic, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation or Chrohn’s disease are also indications that the immune system is strapped and can benefit from probiotic supplementation.