Have you noticed probiotics showing up in your kids’ products lately? The hot health trend is being marketed to moms in infant formula, food and as kids’ supplements. Experts say probiotics may help fend off colds and flu, digestive problems and even make potty training easier.
As a mom, you want to make sure what you’re giving your kid is safe and really necessary— especially when it comes to vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter medication.
Here, find out what probiotics are, how they may help your kid stay healthy, and what you should ask your pediatrician before adding them to your child’s routine.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that help maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract.
It sounds kind of gross, but our digestive tracts are flooded with about 100 trillion healthy bacteria. These bacteria aid digestion, help the body to defend itself against illness and keep energy levels high.
Since the digestive tract makes up more than 70 percent of our immune systems, when it’s healthy, our bodies are, too.
“Our gut helps prevent harmful bacteria, viruses and toxins from invading our bodies,” said Dr. Sheeba Ben, a New York City-area pediatrician.
At birth, babies swallow amniotic fluid, which starts to colonize and stimulate the good bacteria to grow in their sterile little bodies. During their first two years and throughout childhood, kids’ immune systems are immature— which is why it seems like they’re sick all the time.