Horseman’s Health: Healthy Tips – Children, Probiotics & COVID19

By guest contributor Barbara Swanson

Daily Use of Probiotics May Reduce Colds & Flu

We are beginning to realize that our children are much more vulnerable to COVID19 that originally estimated.

One way to help the children in your life is to get them on a daily probiotic.

A recent study in Denmark indicates that making sure kids get a daily dose of probiotics may help prevent the onset of cold and flu symptoms throughout the year.

The independent study indicates that a probiotic supplement taken daily can help to safely and effectively protect against colds and flu in younger children, as well as help reduce the duration and severity of symptoms once they occur.

The study, entitled “Probiotic Effects on Cold and Influenza-Like Symptom Incidence and Duration in Children,” appeared in the journal Pediatrics, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The six month study involved more than 200 hundred children between the ages of 3 and 5 who were administered either a single strain of Lactobacillus acidophilus (Lactobacilli are the most prevalent beneficial bacteria present in the small intestine); or a combination of L. acidophilus and Bifidobacteria (the most prevalent beneficial bacteria family in the large intestine, or colon); or a placebo.

According to the study results, when compared to the placebo group:

The children that received the single and combination probiotic supplements reduced their fever incidence by 53% and 72.7% respectively.

Coughing was reduced by 41.4% and 62.1%

Runny noses were lessened by 28.2% and 58.5%

Additionally, the duration and severity of cold and flu symptoms were significantly reduced in the children receiving the probiotics.

According to the summary of the study,
“These children had less need for prescription antibiotics and missed fewer days of childcare.”

Why Probiotics?
More than 70 percent of our immune defenses are located in our gut. For this reason, maintaining optimum digestive health is essential for overall well being. The beneficial (probiotic) bacteria also help to crowd out harmful pathogens.

However several diet and lifestyle factors have led to a decline in beneficial gut bacteria. Many natural health practitioners recommend taking a daily probiotic supplement to enhance digestion and promote healthy immune function.

For infants under one, only the probiotic Bifidus infantis is recommended.

For older children, look for a multi-strain formula (at least 7 different probiotic strains) with at least 3 billion active cultures to enhance digestive and immune health. It may also include the beneficial strain Streptococcus thermophilus, which has been shown to help reduce symptoms associated with lactose intolerance.

As a culture, Americans have become heavily reliant upon the use of antibiotics. We now see that this may lead to a state of antibiotic resistance. Taking a daily probiotic supplement is a safe, natural way for parents to support their children’s immune health.
Probiotic Recommendations

  • Eat live-culture yogurts that have no added sugars. You can choose to add maple syrup, fruits, or other sweeteners at home.
  • Add in other live-culture and fermented foods. These include kefir, live-culture sauerkraut and other live culture pickled vegetables and fermented drinks like kombucha.
  • Consider adding a good probiotic supplement to your child’s daily routine. Using probiotics, and quality whole foods help your immune function to stay strong.