Saturday, August 14, 2010

Probiotics Vs Prebiotics

Probiotics and Prebiotics! What are they? What are they for? Which is better? Should our kids take them? They are increasingly becoming important for children (and adults). Good intestinal health keeps the away lots of diseases. Start young.

Perhaps, I am digressing a little from the blog focus. But this topic of probiotics and prebiotics is quite popular and important. I realize that my children's pediatrician continues to prescribe friendly bacteria to my kids. Our meals should consider this as well.

I did some research and made some enquiries that I would like to share.

I will break up this topic into two posts (1) about probiotics and prebiotics and our children and (2) the sort of meals and food and our cooking that our children can benefit from

Digestive System

You could use the diagrams and the information on this post to teach your children about our tummies and the workings of the intestinal systems and the importance of keeping them healthy with the right food.

There are bacteria living in our tummies and intestine. Some are ‘good’ bacteria and some are ‘bad’. We need these "friendly" bacteria:

- To help keep bad bacteria and yeast from growing in your intestinal tract.
- To help make vitamin K and keep your immune system functioning properly.

When the bad bacteria and yeast become overgrown in your intestinal tract, it can cause diseases such as yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. And the antibiotics that we can to treat the infection will also kill the healthy bacteria.

One of the worrying things about our digestive system if there is improper care is the kind of ailments that can arise:

Infant allergies and infections (when used in formula), Inflammatory colitis , Candida yeast infections (in all body areas) , Atopic dermatitis, Bladder infections, Vaginal infections ,Acute pancreatitis, Indigestion, High cholesterol , Crohn's Disease , Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Antibiotic-induced diarrhea, Gastroenteritis (stomach flu), Diarrhea, ulcers, and many others.

What is Probiotics and Why We Need It?

The most common types of probiotic bacteria are Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. Our body reacts towards unhealthy bacteria with diarrhea, cramps and abdominal pain. And with antibiotics, the reactions can worsen. These healthy probiotic bacteria can crowd out those bad bacteria.

What is Prebiotics and Why We Need It?

Prebiotics is the food for probiotic bacteria to help it grow and live in our bowels. The most common kind of prebiotic is made of fructo-oligosaccharide molecules. We don’t have the ability to digest them ourselves. The molecules pass through easily and are available for probiotic bacteria to use as nutrition for their own purposes.

Therefore, it would be ideal to have both prebiotics and probiotics to create a perfect environment for these bacteria to thrive and get rid of unwanted bacteria.

I read of an example where a probiotic and prebiotic combination can have a curable effect on the entire body. An individual with diabetes who takes several courses of an antibiotic for a bladder infection and before long get vaginal yeast infection and that, about the same time, her allergies worsen. She could get medication for her illness but it could worsen the problem as explained above. An alternative is to get good probiotic/prebiotic combination supplement clean out the toxins in the colon.

Is it safe to take probiotics?

Probiotics are nutritional supplements and it’s generally safe. Some take probiotics after an antibiotic therapy to restore the balance of friendly bacteria. Probiotics may also be very beneficial for people with digestive tract disorders, yeast infections, and systemic candida

Can children take probiotics?
Absolutely. In fact, the use of probiotics can be very beneficial for your children. A healthy digestive system is very important for a strong immune system in kids as well as in adults.

At what age might a child benefit from taking probiotics?
Actually at any age. They can be taken as a daily supplement as they heavily influence the entire digestive and immune system.

Can probiotics help with any specific childhood disorders?
Absolutely. If a child has been on an antibiotic, it is extremely important to replenish the beneficial bacteria lost by taking a quality probiotics. Probiotics can help boost the immune system whenever a child might be coming down with symptoms of a cold or flu.

What is the best way for a child to get probiotics - food or supplements? Due to the pH of the stomach, supplements may be better. Supplements assure the bacteria are not going to get killed off by the acidity of the stomach and they can make it safely to the intestines where they really make a difference.

But, as always, it is useful to speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
Probiotics and prebiotics can be bought off the counter.

The next blog post, I talk about the foods and meals that is useful for our digestive system.

Happy cooking and Happy Teaching!
Digestive System wall chart 84x118 cm ,4 kg

1 comment:

  1. This is so good! I have been wondering about prebiotics since our son's Belly Boost probiotics helped him so much with his severe eczema and food intolerance! They are amazing and I am such a believer - I will have to look into the prebiotics too!