The pros of probiotics

It may be just one day- but for otherwise healthy children and infants with diarrhea, one day can make a big difference.

That’s why the new clinical report “Probiotics and Prebiotics in Pediatrics,” to be published in today’s online issue of Pediatrics, is really good news.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reviewed the evidence, and found that making probiotics a part of a child’s diet early in the course of diarrhea resulting from an acute viral gastroenteritis, reduced the duration of symptoms by one day.

What are probiotics? They’re the “friendly,” or healthy bacteria found in yogurt, milk, cheese, drinks, supplements and even infant formula.

In a recent issue, Raising Arizona Kids magazine contributor Judy Milas Davis, R.D., wrote about probiotics –the“good” bacteria that inhabits the human digestive tract and helps with digestion and absorption of food nutrients.

Probiotics also have been found to be modestly effective in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea in otherwise healthy children, though there is no evidence probiotics are effective at treating this type of diarrhea.

Could probiotics help a child with other gastro-type symptoms?

The AAP says more research is needed before probiotics can be recommended to treat disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, colic, and constipation, and to prevent common infections and allergy in children.

Probiotics added to infant formula and other foods marketed for use in children do not appear to be harmful to healthy infants and children, according to the AAP, but they’re still not ready to recommend routine use of these formulas.

There are a host of items on the market that claim to contain probiotics; not all are recommended for kids. Check with your pediatrician or family physician before adding these products to your child’s diet.

 

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