Probiotics & Your Child’s Health

The more you experience the overall focus of care at Bulloch Pediatrics, you no doubt have noticed we advocate a more natural approach to the care of your child. We try to educate at every visit to empower you, the caretaker, to understand the most healthy, least “band-aid-like” approach to a specific problem. One area we really focus on is the judicial (least exposure to) use of antibiotics. We also educate about healthy eating to enhance the incredible power of our bodies to heal themselves. One example of enhancing our immunity is by the use of “Probiotics”. These are micro-bacteria that we have and need naturally in our intestines that benefit us in several ways. They create a barrier of defense in our intestines (increased healthy mucus on the lining, which decreases the permeability of the lining to invasive bacteria and allergens—substances that create inflammation—and an improved balance to keep bad bacteria and funguses from overgrowing). They ferment indigestible fibers and help stimulate and mature a baby’s immune system. How can they directly help your child? Probiotica can decrease the incidence and the duration of acute diarrhea and decrease antibiotic-related diarrhea. There is also evidence that a balanced intestinal microflora (flora is bacteria) can decrease the incidence and severity of atopic (allergic) conditions like atopic dermatitis, asthma, eczema. We have used these bacteria to help decrease symptoms in children who have colic and Esophageal Reflux disease. Probiotics are available in several different products. For children old enough to eat yogurt, good varieties are Dannon, Yobaby, and Yoplait. These have “active yogurt culture” or “lactobacillus” on the label. You can buy capsules over the counter at most health food stores, but these are ideally live bacteria that are best bought refrigerated, not on the shelf. We recommend products containing Bifidobacteria species for infants and any lactobacillus capsules for older kids. These are good for adults, too, especially to help heal and perhaps prevent reflux symptoms.

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