Probiotic Used Successfully For Infants & Children!
An article published in Prevention Magazine as early as 1993 reinforces the benefits of friendly helpful bacteria or probiotics for babies health.
They report that the effects of friendly helpful bacteria such as L. acidophilus in the intestines have been well documented. Not only are they said to have a positive effect on our health and well being but also, they are implicated in the denaturation of certain carcinogenic compounds, reduction of serum cholesterol and in the production of vitamins and hormones.
The article goes on to say that not only adults benefit from these friendly helpful bacteria. Breast-fed babies generally have a lower incidence of colic and other digestive disturbances than bottle-fed babies, and this has been attributed to friendly micro-organisms in the digestive system whose growth is encouraged by mother’s milk.
The acidophilus-type microorganisms that predominate in the intestinal tracts of healthy, breast-fed infants are called Bifidobacteria. These beneficial microorganisms account for up to 99% of a healthy, breast-fed baby’s intestinal flora i.e. babies probiotics.
Bifidobacteria or bifidus are now believed to be very important to a young child’s well being. Research has shown that bottle-fed babies have far fewer Bifidobacteria in their stools than breast-fed babies; and after breast-fed babies have been weaned, the type of Bifidobacteria specific to infants and small children, called Bifidobacterium infantis, is found only in small numbers. These numbers continue to decline as the intestinal flora shifts towards what is normally found in adults.
Prevention Magazine reiterates that research and scientific interest in Bifidobacteria has continued to grow as it is shown that breast-fed babies are much less susceptible to infections than bottle-fed babies.
For example, a study of infant intestinal flora was conducted in a rural area of Guatemala. Out of 210 babies born in the village, 109 were breast-fed. The breast-fed infants showed high concentrations of Bifidobacteria – nearly 100%. Only 4 of the breast-fed babies developed Shigella infections that can cause severe diarrhea. But the rate of Shigella infection for the non-breast-fed infants was much higher.
Bifidobacteria (Bifidus) inhibit the colonization of the intestine by invading disease-causing bacteria through competition for nutrients and attachment sites.
They also produce anti-microbial substances that inhibit growth of common pathogens.
Nutritionally, Bifidobacteria encourage better weight gain in infants through nitrogen retention.
These babies probiotics also assist in the absorption of calcium and other vitamins and minerals and help to produce lactose, the enzyme necessary for milk sugar digestion.
Babies are naturally inoculated with Bifidobacteria infantis and other friendly and helpful microorganisms as they pass through the birth canal. These friendly bacteria enter the baby’s intestines through the mouth and feverishly attempt to attach themselves to sites on the gastrointestinal wall before other not-so-friendly microorganisms from the outside world try to do the same.
Breast-feeding then fosters the growth of Bifidobacteria, particularly Bifidobacteria infantis. Babies delivered by Cesarean section do not receive such a healthy head start with these friendly microorganisms. If they are then bottle-fed as well, they end up with adult-type microflora that are not optimal for their health.
Even in healthy, breast-fed infants, however, the babies probiotics – intestinal flora – is relatively unstable. Small changes in an infant’s environment may upset the balance of these friendly microorganisms, sometimes leading to bacterial “overgrowth” of the small intestine and stomach, reducing nutrient absorption and causing other types of problems.
The article goes on to say that:
- sudden changes in diet
- common infections
- sudden changes in the weather may cause such imbalances.
Antibiotics, steroids and certain other drugs may also cause major imbalances in the microflora, with resultant diarrhea, thrush, or other problems.
Probiotic supplements may be administered to infants and young children to aid in the control of diarrhea and colic.
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