Why use a probiotic or a prebiotic?
Is a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children’s Center for Digestive Health Care / GI Care for Kids, whose books on nutrition for parents led him to start Nutrition4Kids with his co-founders.
There are several reasons for using a probiotic:
- Restore the healthy bacteria in the intestine
- Fight diarrhea, constipation or infant colic
- Reduce allergies or their symptoms
- Improve general immune health
Most of the time, probiotics should only be used for a short period of time and for a specific reason (after an infection or to calm a baby's colic). That allows the healthy bacteria or yeast in the probiotic to build up the intestinal microbiome (what we used to call the intestinal flora).
But the bacteria usually die off after just a few days to weeks unless they are fed. And we actually want lots of different (healthy) bacteria to line the intestine. So again we want to feed the good bacteria — and we do that with the bacterial food we call a prebiotic.
The best prebiotic is the fiber in vegetables, fruits, beans and grains–and yes, it's natural. So just by getting your son or daughter to eat a healthy diet, you are improving their gut health.
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