Probiotics for Toddlers, Kindergarten Kiddies and School Age Children
Written by: Jen Cox - AdvDip NAT + WHM. @keeperandkin
You asked and we listened, parents. Our wildly popular The Benefits of Probiotics for Pregnancy blog is all grown up and about to start Kindergarten. How the time flies! We know that you love using our Broad Spectrum Baby Probiotic during pregnancy and breastfeeding - so here are a few reasons we think you should continue that good habit as your child grows. Below we’ve run through just the tip of a research iceberg that exists for use of the specific probiotic strains found in our Broad Spectrum Baby Probiotic and how they can support the little loves of our lives.
Probiotics can modulate the ups and downs of childhood immunity.
Immune development is a rollercoaster. Sometimes it’s up - triggering things like rashes, eczema and allergies - then before you know it there’s a cold and flu slump. While the snotty and grotty parts of being a kid do play a part in immune development, little bods can struggle to process balanced immune reactions. Cue Lactobacillus rhamnosus: a strain of probiotic with handy immuno-modulator skills.
Because it’s good at chilling immune systems out, this friendly bacteria has been associated by researchers with excellent things like reduced incidence of childhood eczema. Not only are benefits seen while in a phase of probiotic supplementation, they also extended long into the future - the kids who supplemented probiotics were less eczema likely to have eczema occurring when tested at age 2, 4 and 7. Now that’s staying power.
Probiotics may alleviate asthma.
If your little love struggles with childhood asthma, you’re not alone - the prevalence of this has actually increased over time. School offices around the country are chock-a-block with asthma action plans. There are lots of diet and lifestyle upgrades you can do to manage asthma, though we also recommend including the Lactobacillus paracasei strain of probiotic in your tool kit. One research article in Nutrients Journal found that children who ingested this little friendly displayed clinically significant improvements in symptoms.
PRO TIP: make sure your child is getting enough good quality oils from fish, avocados and seeds as well as antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables to support strong lung function.
Probiotics can support healthy weight gain and may help prevent nutritional deficiencies.
At an age where percentiles are still on your radar, there are a huge number of ways weight and nutrition might become a struggle point for kids. Most will cop a vicious bout of gastro at school or daycare at least once. Others refuse to eat anything besides vegemite sandwiches with the crusts cut off for 6 months. Next you can couple up growth spurts that literally hurt with a constant demand from learning, growing brains and the micronutrient levels in your kiddo can get low in a snap.
By including Bifidobacterium lactis in their diet - as found in our Broad Spectrum Baby Probiotic - issues such as low Zinc, B group vitamins and iron deficiencies are less likely to occur. One study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition found that there was a whopping 45% less chance of iron deficiency anaemia in kids who took a probiotic supplement, compared with those who didn’t. With iron deficiency playing a role in brain fog, fatigue and muscle growth + development, it’s safe to say that this is one important nutrient to keep topped up on.
PRO TIP: You can increase vitamin and mineral levels in kids by teaching them to eat the rainbow. Each colour is associated with a different group of body-loving nutrients that supports learning, growth and play. Explain the food’s purpose in connection with something that interests them - for example “white foods give us energy to run faster” and “green foods help our brains focus for neat colouring and drawing.” This helps kids see the benefit in trying them out.
Probiotics can assist with mood balance and sleep.
Being a little person is tough work. You’re learning the language, checking out boundaries (repeatedly) and probably fiercely avoiding a nap. If school is a factor, you’ll be navigating play space with broader age groups as well. To support healthy moods - and in particular limit the impact felt from reactive ones - Lactobacillus plantarum is a great choice. A study in Frontiers in Psychiatry found a significant difference between the psychological wellbeing of people who supplemented this strain compared with those who didn’t. Parents of light sleepers take note: quality sleep can be supported by both Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus rhamnosus according to this study as well… a crucial factor for all the tired parents out there.
So there we have it! You can get the Broad Spectrum Baby Probiotic - suitable for kids up to 7 years old - over here.