Thursday, April 17, 2008
Probiotics are good bacteria that help the gastrointestinal tract to function well. According to Nancy O'Hara, who practices integrated holistic healthcare, you need a healthy GI tract because 70% of immunity is located in the gut. Probiotics are of critical importance if you have obvious digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation. But, because of our the processing of our food and our reliance on antibiotics people without digestive issues also will benefit from a good probiotic. Also probiotic levels are 50% lower in children with autism and eczema. For this reason, children with these disorders really need supplementation to restore friendly bacteria in the GI tract. Studies suggest that good bacteria in the gut early in life can offer some protection from later development of allergies.
Without a healthy gut you can't fight infections, absorb nutrients or synthesize vitamins that the body has the ability to create(B6, B12, niacin, folic acid and biotin.) Probiotics control inflammation, support digestion, and decrease diarrhea, eczema and allergies. One particular strand of good bacteria, Bifidus Bacterium, which is found in breast milk, was lower in obese adults. Interestingly breast fed infants are less likely to become obese. Perhaps the balance of good bacteria in the gut is an important factor in weight control.
Part of the reason I recommend taking probiotic supplements is that our food supply has changed so much. Before pasteurization, you could find beneficial bacteria in raw milk products. But pasteurization and processing of food kills not only the dangerous bacteria, but it also killed the essential beneficial bacteria that exists on unprocessed food. Homemade sauerkraut is a good GF/CF/SF food source of beneficial probiotics and my kids like Bubbies Kosher Pickles which are brine cured without vinegar but I don't know if it realistic or doable for busy moms with picky eaters to use these as a food source. I am investigating making GF/CF/SF yogurt out of nut milks and rice milk. Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions is a good source of more information.
My 2.5 year old takes 1 capsule of GI Flora in rice milk 1/2 hour before each meal with water or rice milk on an ongoing basis. My daughter, took one capsule of Lactobacillus in juice in the evening before bed for one week and her cradle cap which had been there for six years completely disappeared. There are many benefits of supplementation and few side effects.
WHAT TO FEED YOUR KIDS: A good probiotic supplement for eczema, cradle cap, allergies, constipation and chronically sick kids or whenever anyone is taking antibiotics. Get one with Bifidus Bacterium that is refrigerated and keep it in the refrigerator. "GI FLORA" by Allergy research group was recommended to us by both Peta Cohen, our nutritionist and the environmental allergist, Dr. Morton Teich. (You can order this product through Invite Health at 1-800-844-9060). Of course, if you live an old fashioned life and can find RAW MILK YOGURT then you might not need the probiotics! <--DEC 1, 2010 update on this post GI FLORA CONTAINS DAIRY! If you are on a GFCF diet, please do some research on Ther-biotic Complete and which might be more suitable. I have heard that if you start slow and open the capsule and sprinkle on food you get the best results when you are using a probiotic.