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With Australia having one of the highest rates of antibiotics use in the world, probiotics and fermented foods are back in the hot seat.


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We have billions of bacteria in our intestines which contribute to the health of the body (namely our immune system) and adults are readily popping probiotics for health, mood and following courses of antibiotics.

Antibiotics are fabulous at wiping out the ‘bad’ bacteria in our gut which precipitate illness, unfortunately they take with them the ‘good’ beneficial flora which we need to digest food, absorb certain vitamins and minerals and prevent illnesses.

Probiotics are medically defined as organisms in fermented foods that promote good health and re-establish the correct balance of ‘good to bad’ intestinal bacteria.

Probiotic supplements are simply these same beneficial bacteria packaged in powder, liquid or capsule form.

A strong immune system provides the foundation to a healthy childhood and later adulthood. Experts suggest our immune system doesn’t mature until 12-14 years of age but it is significantly developed in the first year of life. For this reason a baby’s immune system should be supported throughout the first phase of life and early childhood so that it can strengthen quickly and strongly.

Probiotic use for children (whether through diet or supplement) is rarely discussed at all, both in the media or at the doctor’s office. This is shocking considering the vulnerability of children’s gut health and how important the development of their immune system is.

It is not uncommon for toddlers, especially those in daycare to cycle through several courses of antibiotic prescriptions each year.

While they are often necessary, and in no way am I championing antibiotic avoidance but it is of paramount importance to fortify your child’s immune system post treatment (and during if possible) to repair and rebuild healthy gut integrity.

It takes ‘healthy flora’ at least a few months to recover post antibiotic treatment in which time opportunistic ‘bad bacteria’ may have already settled, disrupting the bacteria ratio and contributing to additional illness.

There are numerous probiotic supplements designed especially for children (palatable in ‘gummy’ formulas or liquids) which are great if you have a picky eater. But don’t forget about natural probiotics in fermented dairy such as yoghurt, kefir and fortified non-dairy products (of course if you think your toddler is up for tackling some sauerkraut be my guest!).

Excess probiotics simply pass through the system so toxic build up is not an issue.

To summarise, during early childhood when the foundation for the immune system is being established, take extra care to fortify your children’s diet with probiotics either in supplement form or through diet, especially post antibiotic treatment.

Please comment on products you have found your child enjoys or ways you sneak probiotics into their food.

  • Good tips.

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  • great article with great information

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  • Thanks for the information – good to always be up to date.

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  • We have a yoghurt lover here so that helped us the one time we resorted to antibiotics.

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  • My son has been taking antibiotics all week and has been very flat and sick everyday. I’m going to go buy him some probiotics today. Thanks

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  • I was very fortunate because my kids loved yoghurt and they are high in probiotics . They used to love the wiggles or Yoplait yoghurt because it was packaged in a tiny tub just enough for them to hold in their tiny hands to spoon themselves. They are very clever in doing this for the kids and they had this for many years . One of fun memories I remembered .

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  • We find Inner Health and yoghurt to be helpful.

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  • i was hoping to see a more extensive list of foods etc that i should try out.

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  • Very helpful article – and if the whole family is eating sauerkraut the littlies seem to enjoy it too.

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  • My chemist recommends Inner Health, but I’d prefer to encourage yoghurt!!

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  • Yoghurt with fruit seems to go down well.

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  • In August my then 1 year old had a tonsillitis and had to take antibiotics for 12 days. She really got sick from the antibiotics and had to poo 7x a day !! My Gp advised to give “Inner Health for Kids” during and after the course. I myself always use Kefir (fermented milk) and add some spoons of kefir to the Greek yogurt of my kids. They don’t like the taste of Kefir so much on it’s own, but don’t taste it when I mix it with Greek yoghurt or when I blend it together with a mango or strawberries. I make different flavours of kombucha what is also much enjoyed in our home. My kids love sauerkraut as well and I just started making some more fermented veggies like cucumber, carrots, red pepper and red cabbage.

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  • I just sprinkle the powder form on cereal or toast

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  • Lie ga

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  • I noticed our daughter really suffer after being quite sick and having antibiotics through a drop in hospital. She was constantly constipated, no matter what she ate. Dramatically increasing probiotic intact solved the problem – it took about a month.

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