Over 70% of our immune system resides in our gut (source). Additionally, this study shows that the gut microbiome can influence our brain chemistry and a wide range of behaviors from depression to anxiety to pain perception. So it makes sense that we want to optimize our gut flora to prevent sickness and feel healthy and happy.
That’s why I’m loving the research around these probiotics for children that are getting a lot of attention. It’s called L. reuteri.
Research on these probiotics for children
Researchers tested 336 healthy children ages 6 months to 3 years who were attending daycare centers in Mexico City. Half received a daily supplement of Lactobacillus reuteri, a beneficial gut bacterium naturally present in many foods and in most people; the other half got an identical placebo.
Less diarrhea, fewer respiratory infections
During the study, there were nearly one third fewer episodes of diarrhea in the probiotic group when compared to the placebo. Furthermore, the placebo group had more than double the respiratory tract infections compared with those taking L. reuteri. The differences persisted during the 12-week follow-up.
Lactobacillus reuteri has also proven to be an effective treatment against infant colic. Over a period of several weeks, infants given L. reuteri steadily decrease the amount of time each day spent crying by over 50%. In fact, it was much better in decreasing the infants’ crying time than the standard therapy of simethicone treatment. There was also a reduction in E. Coli and ammonia found in their stool.
L. reuteri may also boost dental health; in studies it was the only strain that killed Streptococcus mutans, a bacterium responsible for tooth decay.
So, we might all benefit from a daily dose of L. reuteri but especially babies and kids! It’s proven to be safe and effective.
Where to get probiotics for children & how to administer
Here are some L. reuteri supplements you can try:
- Powder L. reuteri supplement that can be given to young children. You can mix with breast milk and administer with a syringe –> See product here
- Tiny tablets that are easy to swallow (for children 3+) –> See product here
- Chewable tablets for kids 2+ –> See product here (FYI: the company is associated with Gerber. I only share because it’s the only pure L. reuteri on market.)
What I’m doing about probiotics for children
I’ve ordered the L. reuteri powder and plan on giving to Paloma and Griffin a few times a week. I’m surprised that this strain wasn’t included in the other probiotic supplements I currently give them like this one. Keep in mind that we have ~ 100 trillion microorganisms in our intestines. This is 10X (!) the total number of human cells in the body. So, I don’t have a problem giving my kids ample probiotics.
How about YOU?
What are your favorite probiotics for children? Have you ever tried L. reuteri? Share with us in the comments below!