A recent study published last month in the scientific journal Pediatrics has shown that using probiotic supplements (‘”good” bacteria) can dramatically REDUCE the chance that your children will get the cold or flu.
Our society tends to be germ-phobic. And we have good reasons. In the past most of the things that killed people were infections – infected wounds led to loss of limbs and lives, and epidemic diseases like fevers and plagues have swept through societies killing untold millions. Plus today we face a new wave of antibiotic resistant diseases created through the overuse, improper use, and abuse of antibiotics such as MRSA.
But many scientists and doctors, myself included, feel that our germ phobia has gone too far. The hygiene hypothesis states that exposure to bacteria both good and bad is necessary to develop a properly functioning immune system.
The hygiene hypothesis is one attempt to make sense of the sky-rocketing rates of allergies and auto-immune diseases in children. Keeping children excessively clean does not give their bodies and immune system sufficient exposure, and thus education to learn to function normally.
The role of good bacteria in the maintenance of health is becoming increasingly understood. New studies are showing that every exposed part of our body, every square inch of our skin, and our digestive tract from our mouth to our rectum are home to a huge diversity of bacteria.
In fact the Human Biome project is setting out to map the genetic code of bacteria that live with us in a similar way the Human Genome project set out to map our genetic code.
Far from being simply passengers we are gaining greater and greater understanding that bacteria are necessary for our health and well-being. They protect us from pathogenic (“bad”) bacteria and parasites, help us digest food, and help our immune system to function properly.
A recent study published last month in the scientific journal Pediatrics has shown that using probiotic supplements (“good” bacteria) can dramatically reduce the chance that your children will get the cold or flu.
In the double-blind, placebo-controlled study 326 kids aged 3-5 were assigned to take either placebo, a single strain probiotic (containing 1 type of bacteria, L. acidophilus) or a double strain probiotic (containing L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium) twice a day for 6 months.
The results were dramatic. Compared to kids on placebo (not taking probiotics), kids taking probiotics:
Bottom line: Giving your kids a quality multi-strain probiotic with at least 10 billion cfu (colony forming units) every day as was done in the study can reduce their risk of getting a fever, cough, and runny nose by about 2/3. If they get a cold it would be reduced in duration by one half. Their need for antibiotics would be reduced almost 85% and the number of days they would need to miss day care would be reduced by 1/3.
This is a huge benefit for a generally moderately priced supplement that is virtually without side effects.
Probiotics are one supplement I do highly recommend you purchase from a practitioner. Studies have shown that many over the counter probiotics are poorly manufactured and do not contain the levels of beneficial bacteria stated on the label, and some even were found to be contaminated with harmful bacteria.
HERE are some high quality probiotics.
At Aspire Natural Health we are experts at helping people suffering with digestive issues and autoimmunity.
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