Probiotics for Women, Children and Infants

Sarasota Natural Health

Choosing Probiotics for Women, Children and Infants

Probiotics Safely Remedy Health Issues Experienced by Women, Children and Infants

If you have been into natural medicine for a while or are just getting your feet wet, you have undoubtedly heard about probiotics.  Touted as a “cure all” for digestive issues, constipation, immune support, quelling yeast, diarrhea and regulating brain chemistry, even the most mainstream of doctors are recommending them for their patients.  Research supports the many of the beneficial claims.   According to Chinese Medicine, the health of the Large Intestine is our “seat of immunity”.  In Western thinking our “gut” is our second brain and is actually the site of synthesis for neurotransmitters and the immune cells that protect us from bad bacteria and yeasts such as H. Pylori, E. Coli and Candida that can over ride the balance in our bodies.   Although many things can affect digestive health, we could all use a bit of help increasing our good bacteria in order to outweigh the bad.  So here is the skinny and what you should know about choosing probiotics so you can make the best choice.

History Of Probiotics

Probiotics were not recently invented.  The idea of a probiotic has been around since lactic acid bacterium was discovered by Pasteur in 1857.  Lactic acid is used as a base for producing the most common probiotic lactobacillus acidophilus found today.  In 1907, Elie Metchnikoff, a Russian scientist working in the Pasteur Institute in Paris, developed an interest in the differences in the lifespan of villagers in Bulgaria who drank a fermented drink of yoghurt.  This drink made from sour milk was fermented with a single strain of bacteria, which he named Bacillus bulgaricus (hence its founding birthplace).  This was later renamed to Lactobacillus bulgaricus.   In 1989, Fuller described probiotics as “live microbial feed supplement, which beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance”.  He stressed two important facts of probiotics: the living nature of probiotics and the capacity to help inhibiting pathogenic bacteria.  Hmm sounds like a natural “antibiotic” doesn’t it?

Infants, C Section Births, Breast Feeding, Antibiotics and Probiotics

We build our “intestinal fortitude” at birth.  Intestinal fortitude starts in the small intestine and the large intestine, mouth and skin.  How we come into the world gives us our first exposure to bacteria.  During gestation, a mothers use of antibiotics during pregnancy can adversly effect her gut flora and set up an imbalance in the fetus.  Vaginal birth exposes a baby to a mothers flora-good, bad or neutral.  Therefore babies born vaginally may have a stronger foundation of gut flora provided a mother is in balance.  C-Section deliveries unfortunately do not expose babies to the natural vaginal flora and thus may influence the gut and digestion.  A baby’s first feedings (breast or formula) contributes to the addition of probiotic strains as well with breast milk being optimal.  Any ingested or IV rendered prescriptions-such as antifungals, antibiotics, medications and vaccinations to either a pregnant, breast feeding mother or her infant directly will effect both mom and baby and influence gut flora and microbial balance.  What happens during pregnancy and in the first year of life of a baby can profoundly set the stage for the health of the digestive system.  Too often antibiotics are prescribed during pregnancy and the post partum period to breast feeding moms for mastitis with little concern for the infants gut health.  When a baby develops a classic diaper rash following the antibiotic course given to mom this is often misdiagnosed as thrush.  For “thrush”, Nyastatin, a strong antifungal is prescribed-which further depletes healthy gut bacteria.  This cycle of gut injury sets a baby up for gas, colic, constipation, painful burning diarrhea and subsequent “food sensitivities”, skin issues, eczema and respiratory weakness.   Often this is overlooked yet profoundly effects children ongoing into adulthood for the duration of their life.

Choosing Probiotics for Women, Infants and Children

  • Choose a supplement that has a bit of each of the 4 groups, with a few in each family and not just one strain.
  • Even if you buy supplements that are sold at room temp they MUST be refrigerated after they are opened-much like mayonnaise which you buy at room temp but HAVE to refrigerate it once opened or it goes bad.
  • For infants, a the Klaire Labs Infant Ther-Biotic Powder is great.  Easily mixed with breast milk or formula or applied to the nipples as a paste.  This is a good treatment for oral thrush also.
  • For Women a combonation of Lactobacillis and Bifidum including L. Reuteri to support the vaginal flora is best. Consider Klaire Labs Complete Womens Formula.
  • For older Children, a powdered probiotic such as TherBiotic Complete can be mixed in food or try the Childrens Chewable.
  • Colony Forming Units (C.F.U.) is the number of bacteria that’s expected to colonize in your intestine and start reproducing.
  • Consistency is key.  Try them for 7-14 days and see if you notice better stools and digestion and take first thing in the am on an empty stomach OR in between meals.
  •  The proof is in the pudding–if you don’t feel your digestion is improving or your yeast issue/infection has resolved, you may need to a different brand of probiotic and new strains.
  • Probiotics are found in some, live culture yogurt and kefirs.  The idea that a live culture helps digestion is intuitively known by many other cultures around the world. Kimchee in Korea, Sauerkraut in Germany, yogurt or kefir, fermented wheat berry “Rejuvalac” and Kombucha tea all provide some probiotics.   Try to integrate them into your daily diet.
  • Be sure the supplement is free of dairy, egg, wheat, corn, shellfish if this is important for you or your child.  Klaire Labs Formulas are generally free of these and artificial ingredients.
  • The biggest misconception is to believe all yogurts have probiotics.  Unfortunately, most yogurts are only made from sugar, milk, flavors, gelatin and guar gum-yuck, with no real live cultures AT ALL.
  • Dr. D’Adamo-author of the Blood Type Diet which I explained in my prior post “How Knowing Your Blood Type Simplifies Your Life” summarizes the strains that are best suited for each blood type which will further enlighten you to your needs.
  • Men need probiotics also.  They often eat yeasty foods like beer, pizza and bread.  If you are getting recurrent yeast infections after sex-treat your hubby with a probiotic.  To counter yeast try Pro 5 by Klaire Labs.
  • After taking antibiotics take a probiotics for twice the number of days they were given.  Strong antibiotics 3 times as long. Klaire Labs ABx Support is ideal.  For IBS Support try Vital 10 by Klaire.
  • If you want to really know what is lacking consider a CDSA stool test by Genova Diagnostics.  Their CDSA will reveal what levels of probiotics are present, lacking or needed.
  • To order from Klaire Labs thru Dr. Deanine Picciano AP-enter N28 as the access code.  For more info on stool testing contact Dr. Deanine.

Trusted brands are Jarrow, Klaire Labs, PB 8, & Ultimate Flora.

The 4 Main Groups of Probiotics

Meet the 4 main families of the probiotic supplements.

1.  Lactobacillis

2.  Bifidum

3.  Yeasts, and strains derived from intestinal cultures (yup they are from cadavers or animals sometimes)

4.  Fibers which act as “food” for the probiotics them selves.  They are also known as Pre-Biotics

Which Strain may be best for you?

1. Lactobacillis-Treating IBS, Colic, Bacterial Vaginosis, Yeast infections and Group B Strep.

The lactobacillis family are strains of bacteria that are grown or grow forth from the sugar in milk, thus the term Lacto (milk sugar) Bacillis (bacteria).  If you are wondering if Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements can help with lactose intolerance or should be avoided in the case of, researchers are split. In 1995, an article published in the “Journal of Dairy Science,” suggested that Lactobacillus helps lactose intolerant individuals to digest the lactose in dairy.  In another study in 1999,  published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” lactobacillis had no effect on lactose digestion.  Lactobacillus supplements won’t hurt you, so you may wish to try them in order to determine whether you’ll get any benefit.  They are naturally found in the digestive, urinary, and genital systems.  There are probably close to 50 known strains and still more possible.  Some of the lactobacilli found in foods and supplements are Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. acidophilus, Lactobacillus blugaricus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarium, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus johnsonii, and Lactobacillus gasseri.

Studies have shown some benefits linked to Lactobacillus and treating and/or preventing yeast infections, antibiotic-related diarrhea, bacterial vaginitis, Group B strep infections, diarrhea, colitis, treating lactose intolerance, eczema, skin disorders, and mimimizing recurrent respiratory infections. More specifically, results from some of the studies are as follows:

  • Lactobacillus was given to children 5 to 14 years of age with irritable bowel syndrome over eight weeks’ time. They were given 3 billion cells twice per day. This reduced the frequency and severity of abdominal pain.
  • Lactobacillus was given to children taking antibiotics and there was a decrease in reported diarrhea.
  • Lactobacillus-containing milk was given to children 1 to 6 years of age who attended day care. They got fewer or less severe lung infections than those who did not drink it.
  • Lactobacillus gasseri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus vaginal capsules lengthened the time in between bacterial vaginosis infections. Lactobacillus reduced the risk of traveler’s diarrhea by 47% in a study with 245 people who traveled to 14 worldwide geographic region.
  • Lactobacillis reuteri given to women decreases vaginal yeast infections and is also found in breast milk.  L Reuteri is the best strain for Group B Strep and bacterial Vaginitis.

2.  Bifidobacteria-Infant colic, cavaties, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

There are approximately 30 species of bifidobacteria. The make up approximately 90% of the healthy bacteria in the colon. They appear in the intestinal tract within days of birth, especially infants that are breast-fed.

Some of the bifidobacteria used as probiotics are Bifodbacterium bifidum, Bifodbacterium lactis, Bifodbacterium longum, Bifodbacterium breve, Bifodbacterium infantis, Bifodbacterium thermophilum, and Bifodbacterium pseudolongum.

As with all probiotics, more research is needed to prove a definitive benefit, but studies have shown that bifidobacteria can help with IBS, improve blood lipid balance and improve sugar metabolisim.

  • Bifidobacterium infantis was given to 362 patients with irritable bowel syndrome in a four-week study. They showed improvement in the symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, bowel dysfunction, incomplete evacuation, straining, and the passage of gas.
  • Salivary levels of bifidobacteria are associated with dental cavities in adults and children.
  • Bifidobacterium lactis  increased HDL in adult women, and improved glucose tolerance during pregnancy.

3. Yeasts and intestinally derived strains of probiotics.  Support for lactose intolerance, H Pylori, antibiotic insult.

  • Saccharomyces boulardii-
This is also known as S. boulardii and is the only yeast probiotic. Some studies have shown that it is effective in preventing and treating diarrhea associated with the use of antibiotics and traveler’s diarrhea. It has also been reported to prevent the reoccurrence of Clostridium difficile, to treat acne, and to reduce side effects of treatment for Helicobacter pylori.
  • Streptococcus thermophiles
This produces large quantities of the enzyme lactase, making it effective, according to some reports, in the prevention of lactose intolerance.

4.  Prebiotic Fibers, Enzymes and Supporters

These are the additional ingredients such as Glucommannan, Pectins, FOS (Fructooligiosaccharides) and enzymes that act as “food” for the strains of beneficial bacteria as they are introduced into the digestive tract. They act as “food” for the beneficial bacteria strains.

Resources:

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