Written by: Dr. Loreen Dawson, ND
For small children, regular use of probiotics is one of the most effective ways to prevent and treat colds and flu. A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2009 followed children who took a daily probiotic for 6 months. The most effective probiotic was a combination product containing lactobacillus acidophillus and bifido bacterium species. The study found that children using this combination product had 73% fewer fevers, 62% fewer coughs and 59% fewer runny noses compared to children that took no probiotics. In addition, they reduced antibiotic use by 68%.
As an added benefit, there is growing evidence that giving probiotics to children reduces the risk of and duration of diarrhea, is effective in treating some cases of constipation, reduces colic, gastritis and irritable bowel disease. There also seems to be some benefit when probiotics are included in a program designed to reduce allergies and eczema.
Please note that not all probiotics are the same. There are huge differences in the species and the number of live bacteria in different products. Be sure that you use a good quality product with the correct species in order to get these benefits. At the Hummingbird Clinic, your naturopathic physicians strive to find the best quality supplements available. Please ask us which probiotic would be best for you.