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Probiotics can improve your child's gut and brain

Posted on18 Aug 2019
As a result, probiotics have a major impact on almost every aspect of brain and body function and can be a factor in many issues our children face from mood and behavior problems to constipation and frequent illnesses. Each person’s microbiome is unique and based on many factors including exposure to the mother’s microbiome during pregnancy and delivery, the environment in which we were raised, the foods we eat, medications we have taken, and more.

Children born to mothers with bacterial imbalances, and/or who were delivered via C-section, are most likely to have gut dysbiosis. Children who eat a limited diet, especially a diet high in processed foods, are more likely to have problems with their gut microbiome. Antibiotics, which are sometimes necessary to fight infections, also alter the gut microbiome in negative ways as they kill off not only the bad bacteria but also the good bacteria.

Other medications can also cause bacterial imbalances, and in general the more courses of antibiotics and/or other medications a child takes the more likely they are to have gut dysbiosis. What does all this mean for your little one and what can you do? Parents should also be aware of several other factors that have been linked to altered gut microbiomes in children. Consistent use of hand sanitizers and other types of antibacterial cleansing products can lead to lower levels of good bacteria in the gut.

There is a theory that we have become “over-sanitized”, which has had negative consequences for our microbiome and overall health. While children used to play outside in the dirt often, which exposed their system to many beneficial bacteria to populate the gut, many parents now try to prevent kids from getting dirty outside. Less self-directed playtime and a greater focus on academics and sedentary activities also play a role in gut dysbiosis, as increased stress and reduced opportunities for movement shift the gut microbiome in unhealthy ways.

What do probiotics and the gut have to do with your child’s brain? The gut is often referred to as “the second brain” because of the many important ways they are connected and communicate with one another. Other terms used to describe this are the gut-brain-axis or the microbiome-gut-brain axis. Our gut and brain are in constant communication through something called the enteric nervous system. This special system of neurons controls aspects of the gastrointestinal system, the immune system, the endocrine system, and more. It also sends many signals to the brain (way more than the brain sends to the gut), which impacts how our brain functions.

The gut microbiome plays a major role in the enteric nervous system because the balance of bacteria influences the communication that gets sent from the gut to the brain. When there are not enough good bacteria this communication can become dysfunctional and cause symptoms in children such as depressed mood, irritability, anxiety, hyperactivity, brain fog, poor attention, and chronic headaches. The gut also impacts mental health through the production of neurotransmitters, which are the chemical messengers that allow nerves to communicate with one another. Some key neurotransmitters needed for brain function, including the feel-good neurochemical serotonin, are produced primarily in the gut. Microbiome imbalances can lead to reduced production of serotonin, which can cause significant problems in the brain related to mood, anxiety, energy, and more.

The gut microbiome plays a major role in the enteric nervous system because the balance of bacteria influences the communication that gets sent from the gut to the brain. When there are not enough good bacteria this communication can become dysfunctional and cause symptoms in children such as depressed mood, irritability, anxiety, hyperactivity, brain fog, poor attention, and chronic headaches. The gut also impacts mental health through the production of neurotransmitters, which are the chemical messengers that allow nerves to communicate with one another.

Some key neurotransmitters needed for brain function, including the feel-good neurochemical serotonin, are produced primarily in the gut. Microbiome imbalances can lead to reduced production of serotonin, which can cause significant problems in the brain related to mood, anxiety, energy, and more. Give a probiotic supplement Even when you implement other strategies to support your child’s gut microbiome, it’s impossible to fully protect your child from the many environmental toxins, stressors, and other factors that can create gut imbalances. Giving a probiotic supplement regularly helps boost levels of good bacteria and supports healthy brain and body function.

Use a product containing Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria strains, as these have been shown in research studies to be the most important for supporting healthy bacteria levels in the gut. Lactokids + probiotics is one probiotic supplement that has 9 probiotic strains, a well mix of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains. This will help benefit your child's gut, brain function and development.

Children with specific diagnoses or health needs may benefit from other strains as well, but for general health and brain support Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria are good starting points and have been shown to be safe for children. It is also important to use quality products that are formulated to survive harsh stomach acid in order to make it to the intestines where they belong. ( This is why the double micro-encapsulation (Noltec double Micro-encapsulation) in Lactokids + assures > 90% of probiotic strains enter your child's digestive system.)
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