Does my child need probiotics?

I thought I'd tackle a topic today that some of you might be interested in...especially as we approach Winter.  Probiotics!
What are they?  And does my kiddo need them?  Do I need them?
First of all, what are probiotics
They are live organisms or a type of "good" bacteria that are similar to the bacteria that hang out in our digestive tract all the time.  They help with the digestive process and support immune health.
So why do we need them?  Well if we lived in a perfect world, we probably wouldn't.  And if we ate a perfect diet, we might not.  But we live in the real world and most of us don't eat right ALL the time.  Basically, probiotics can be beneficial once the existing gut flora (your insides!) gets thrown off or is out of balance for one reason or another.  What might those reasons be?
*antibiotics - a big one!  These kill your gut bacteria - good and bad!
*sickness (cold/flu)
*uti/yeast infection

*too many processed foods
And yes, even kiddos can get stressed.  There is evidence that probiotics can even help with things like eczema.  They make your insides HAPPY :) and can ease yucky stuff like diarrhea.  Some probiotics can be found in dairy products like yogurt and fermented foods but your typical Yoplait Light is not going to be enough.
So what type of probiotic supplement is best and how much do I need?  Take a jaunt to your local health food store.  Whole Foods.  Something like that.  Look around, do some research, find out what others use.  I buy ours at our local small health food store in the refrigerated section.  You want bacteria that is alive and look for an expiration date as well on the bottle.  You can find pills, chewable or capsules, powder, or maybe even liquids.  Dosages vary.  Talk to your doctor/chiro/knowledgable person or just follow the dosage directions on the bottle.
Karlyn uses this powdered formula and I take these.  I like the powdered formula for Karlyn because I can easily mix it in with applesauce or juice and she's none the wiser!  I have heard good things about the Jarrow brand for myself and the cost fits our budget as well.
I don't think that probiotics are necessarily something everyone needs to be taking non-stop throughout the year but certainly during the winter months AND following antibiotic use, I feel they are a great idea.  Karlyn has been on almost continual antibiotics now for a few months so I am really trying to be consistent and have upped her to the 2 year old dosage.  Our diets haven't been perfect and the holidays don't help with that so I feel better knowing I'm taking mine as well.  *TMI side note - Karlyn almost always needs a diaper change after she takes hers.  So I know it's working :> 
**Also, I do think these can be taken during antibiotic use but not at the exact same time of day.
I hope you'll check more into using probiotics as a healthy living supplement!  I found this article helpful as well and borrowed from it.
Oh hey!  Would you like to see more posts like this?  It took more effort than throwing a pic of little miss up but I enjoy it and it helps me learn and reinforce.  :-)  Let me know!


The Young's said...

Luke takes a supplement when I think about it! haha.. but yeah, i totally agree, I think they're really good considering how worn down our immunse systems can get. Something I've heard a lot of good about is elderberry extract... the stuff in the dropper, not the pills. It tastes good, too. It's supposed to be really good for preventing respiratory viruses and if you have one, making it go away faster! I took some during the Thanksgiving holiday because everyone around me was sick! So far, so good!

Kati said...

Lauren, I have been hearing about Elderberry as well and want to learn more. I did buy some Sambuca (sp?) syrup with elderberry in it but the taste was a little strong for Karlyn. Maybe I'll see what other forms it comes in!

Andrea C. said...

Very interesting... I never knew much about it probiotics except for hearing it thrown around in yogurt commercials. How long have you been taking it? Would love a follow up review/post on the difference with using it.

Kati said...

Andrea, I've been taking it off and on for a few months probably and Karlyn has had hers on and off as well. I've only recently started her on it every day because I know her immune system is shot after all the antibiotics. My mom first bought me the powder for her about a year ago.

I'm curious to see if it helps her immunity wise!