Your body naturally contains hundreds of different types of good bacteria, which help to digest food, and keep your intestines and immune systems healthy. Probiotics are good (friendly) bacteria and are found naturally in foods such as yoghurt and cheeses, and in supplements.
It’s thought that some digestive problems may happen when the balance of these friendly bacteria in the intestines is disturbed, such as after an illness or a course of antibiotics. Taking a probiotic supplement may help to restore this natural balance. They’re believed to be good for overall health in adults, kids and even babies.
There are times when your kids may benefit from taking a probiotic supplement including:
- During a bout of diarrhea: probiotics, together with rehydration therapy, may assist in reducing the duration of diarrhea when your child is sick with a stomach bug.
- During and after a course of antibiotics: probiotics may restore healthy bacteria after a course of antibiotics has altered the normal gastrointestinal flora.
- With constipation: certain types of probiotics may help to reduce the symptoms of constipation.
You may decide to increase your family’s intake of good bacteria through foods and drinks such as yoghurt or fortified drinks, through supplements, or a combination of the three.
The benefit of a supplement is that it’s often convenient and it’s concentrated. Powders can be particularly helpful for very young or fussy kids, as they can easily be hidden in foods or drinks without them noticing.