We usually think of bacteria as bad germs that cause disease. But our bodies are actually full of helpful bacteria and other microorganisms that play important roles in how we function. In fact, research shows that there are equally as many bacteria inside our bodies as there are cells!1 Good bacteria, especially the bacteria that live in our gut, help support our overall health and wellness, and this is true for your kids too.2 So how can kids maintain a good balance of bacteria and a healthy digestive system? Probiotics! Keep reading to learn more about how probiotics for kids work to help support your child’s digestive health.
Good vs. Bad Bacteria
Before we get into probiotics, let’s talk about our “microbiome.” Our bodies are full of microorganisms, including good and bad bacteria, and even yeasts (yes, that strange goop that makes bread rise is actually made up of billions of microscopic single-celled fungal microorganisms). And all these microorganisms together in our body make up what’s called our microbiome. The right balance of good and bad bacteria, and other living microorganisms, make for a healthy microbiome.
When it comes to digestive health, the microorganisms that live in your kid’s gut are very important. But certain factors like antibiotics or a change in diet can throw off your kid’s bacterial balance. Luckily, probiotics for kids provide good bacteria to their digestive tract to support their digestive system.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeasts. When ingested in adequate amounts, probiotics provide many health benefits (more on that later).
Many types of bacteria are considered probiotics. A few of the most common are:
- Lactobacillus, which is found in yogurt and other fermented foods.
- Bifidobacterium, which occurs naturally in dairy products.
- Saccharomyces boulardii, a strain of yeast.
Probiotics are measured in CFU, or colony-forming units. The number of CFU listed on the labels of probiotic supplements tells you how many live organisms per serving are in that probiotic product.
So now that you know generally how probiotics work, you’re probably wondering, “What are the benefits of probiotics?” Here’s how probiotics for kids can help your child:
- Provide good bacteria for your kid’s digestive system
- Support overall wellness
- Help maintain beneficial bacteria
How to Get More Probiotics in Your Diet
There are several simple ways to make sure that your kid is getting a good balance of probiotics for good digestive health. One way is to incorporate more probiotic-rich foods into their diet. Examples of probiotic foods include:
- Sour pickles
- Some cheese
- Other fermented foods
Yup! Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and tempeh (a vegetarian protein made from fermented soybeans) are probiotic foods. But if your kids, like a lot of American kids, don’t like the taste or texture of these foods, or wouldn’t even try them, don’t worry! A 2007 Swiss study3 found that kids need to try new foods up to eight times in order to develop a taste for them.
In the meantime, L’il Critters™ Probiotic gummy is an even easier way to get your kids the probiotics that help support their digestive health. One serving of L’il Critters Probiotic combines 2 billion CFUs of probiotics with a prebiotic (a type of fiber that helps promote the growth of good bacteria).* And L’il Critters contains probiotic strains that survive the stomach’s harsh environment. Plus, great-tasting L’il Critters Probiotic is infused with delicious fruit flavors that your kids will love.
Can Probiotics Help Adults?
Yes, probiotics offer the same benefits for adults’ digestive health as they do for kids. Adults can get probiotics in their diet by eating more of the fermented probiotic foods listed above.
However, if you’re equally as excited about eating sauerkraut and tempeh as your kids are, then vitafusion Probiotic gummy is probably your better bet! The grown-up version of the probiotic gummy provides friendly bacteria to the digestive tract with two different strains of probiotics and 5 billion CFUs per serving that survive in the stomach.* Plus, vitafusion Probiotic has an award-winning taste†, and come in natural raspberry, peach and mango flavors. Yum!
We love sharing our insights about vitamins and health. But that doesn’t mean it should be a substitute for professional medical advice. For that, you should talk to your doctor!
1 Sender, R., et al; PLoS Biol. 2016
2 Fields, H. “The Gut: Where Bacteria and Immune System Meet.” (www.hopkinsmedicine.org)
3 Maier, A., et al; Food Qual Prefer. 2007.
†The ChefsBest® Excellence Award is awarded to brands that surpass quality standards established by independent professional chefs.