My daughter is fed via g-tube for medical reasons. This doesn’t actually have much to do with today’s post on probiotics, except for one thing which I”ll tell you at the end.
According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary a probiotic is “a prepartion containing live bacteria (as lactobacilli) that is taken orally to restore beneficial bacteria to the body”. Translation of probiotic: for life.
History shows probiotics in the form of fermented milk products have been around for literally thousands of years. They were used to improve appetite, and treat dysentery (diarrhea). Eastern Europeans have long been found to live more than 100 years, still actively enjoying life. Frequently one of the notable differences in their lifestyles is consumption of yogurt (which contains probiotics)! A Nobel Prize winner in physiology and medicine in the early 1900’s discovered that many disease-producing organisms failed to develop, or died, in milk that contained lactobacillus.
Research has been done in countries around the world about the benefits of probiotics. The most prominent healthy bacterium in the small intestine is lactobacillus acidophilus. Bifidobacterium bifidum is the healthy bacterium in the large intestine. The super strains of these two bacterium have proven antimicrobial and antifungal characteristics. There are lots of claims as to what probiotics can do. Whether or not they are all true is still being researched around the world.
Studies show probiotics:
- can shorten the duration of infectious diarrhea in infants and children (such as rotavirus and C.diff)
- reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea
- keep harmful microorganisms in check
- aid digestion and nutrient absorption
- contribute to immune function
- may help people with Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome
- may help maintain urogenital health (like the intestinal tract, the vagina is a finely balanced ecosystem)
- may alleviate symptoms of eczema, asthma, and allergies
Probiotics are present in a normal digestive system. I have seen the benefits in my daughter’s health (and the rest of my family) from regular use of probiotics. It is always best to work with a practitioner familiar with probiotics to know which bacteria are best for your child. We are blessed that our M.D. is PRO probiotics and mentions them at almost every visit!
The advantage for my g-tube fed daughter is that I can feed her the yogurt or the probiotic capsule (dissolved in water) through her g-tube, without resistance! I dissolve the capsule enough to get the probiotics from inside it, pull the water and healthy bacteria into a syringe and voile’!
Harvard Medical School “Family Health Guide” Sept. 2005 update
University of Michigan “Health System” March 6, 2006 newsroom update
“Pediatric Views” February 2007 article “Understanding pros and cons of probiotics” Children’s Hospital Boston interview of Athos Bousvaros, MD
The Power of Probiotics by Natasha Trenev