If you checked in at TheMommyDoctor.com last week, then hopefully you had the chance to read my description of pre- and probiotics (click here to check it out). If you have been perusing the grocery or health food store aisles for some of these products, you have probably noticed that there are lots of products out there. “So which one should I buy?” you may be wondering. Well, today I will share with you a few of my favorite products for keeping those little tummies (and maybe big tummies, too) happy and healthy.
“So which one should I buy?” you may be wondering.
Let’s start with the product I like the most for infants. It is called Gerber Soothe or BioGaia ProTectis drops. These products contain the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri which has been shown in several studies to be beneficial especially in the setting of reducing infant colic symptoms. One study, in particular, that was published in the journal Pediatrics, was a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (i.e. the “best” type of study, from my pediatrician perspective) looking at breastfed infants with colic and the use of this probiotic. A significantly higher number of those in the study who received the L. reuteri were found to be responders, meaning a 50% reduction in crying time, by day 7 of the trial as compared to those who received placebo drops. In practice, I typically recommend Gerber Soothe drops and BioGaia especially in young infants who have fussiness that seems to be associated with gas and especially when that gas is particularly “smelly.” The recommended dose for these products is 5 drops per day which can be given on the breast, mixed in a bottle or from a spoon/dropper. Click here to find out more about Gerber Soothe drops or here to find out about BioGaia.
For infants two months and older, children, and teens, I often recommend Floarstor as a great probiotic. Florastor contains Saccharomyces boulardii lyo which is a yeast found on the skin of lychees and mangosteens. Since this probiotic is a yeast and not a bacteria (many other probiotics are bacterial probiotics), some studies suggest it provides more benefit as the yeast can better withstand the acid of the stomach and can’t be “deactivated” by antibiotic use. A study reviewing the literature on S. boulardii did show reduction in the duration of acute diarrhea in children. I recommend Florastor Kids when I start kids on antibiotics as well as during acute viral gastroenteritis episodes. One packet of Florastor Kids, which can be mixed in liquids or soft foods like applesauce, can be taken twice a day. Click here to learn more about Florastor Kids.
Finally, Lifeway Kefir is my favorite premade, drinkable probiotic product that can be found in the dairy aisle. Kefir is a cultured milk product that contains both healthy probiotic bacteria and beneficial yeasts as well as several vitamins and minerals, including Vit D and calcium, and a good amount of protein. While the plain Kefir is pretty tart tasting, my kiddos love the strawberry, strawberry banana, and Madagascar vanilla versions. In our house, we have swapped our typical morning yogurt drink out for a glass of Kefir to try and keep those little tummies nice and healthy. Click here to find out more about Lifeway Kefir.
As I said in my earlier post, it is important to talk with your child’s pediatrician prior to starting any kind of supplement-including probiotics. Also remember that probiotic supplements can be harmful to children who do not have normal immune systems or other severe systemic illnesses.