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Kids & Probiotics: Give Them the Gift of Lifelong Good Health

Good Health Starts Early

From the moment your child is born into the world, their gut microbiome begins to take shape, ultimately laying the groundwork for their immune system.

What does that really mean? Simply this: A healthy microbiome means a healthy kid. And a healthier kid eventually means a healthier adult. 

But there's something very BIG working to sabotage the health of our kids everyday. And every day, kids are bombarded with things like sugar, stress, environmental toxins, eating on the go (which might mean they're getting a regular fast food diet), inconsistent sleep patterns - and did we mention sugar (!!)  - and ALL of these inputs work to slant their microbiomes in the wrong direction.

If we - as parents and caretakers - don’t stay on top of that, these negative influences can take a toll on their physical and mental health...for years to come. 

Luckily for all of us, there’s an easy way to keep your kid’s microbiome in A+ shape. A daily dose of a high-quality spore probiotic.

 

Good health starts in the gut

For kids and adults alike, good health depends on a healthy gut – and that means a well-balanced microbiome with a thriving population of beneficial bacteria.

The gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria. It includes beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics, and harmful bacteria, known as pathogens. In a healthy microbiome, probiotics vastly outnumber pathogens. When that gets flipped (a condition known as dysbiosis), it can cause a wide variety of health problems, from diarrhea to asthma to Type 2 diabetes to anxiety.

The gut microbiome also heavily influences the health and well-being of the immune system. It teaches the immune system how to protect your body from harmful microbes like viruses and infectious bacteria. It is also a leader in your body on immune system balance, helping to distinguish between a proper reaction and an overreaction to certain foods and environmental elements.

To get the right education, the immune system needs to get messages from a very diverse population of beneficial bacteria, which helps the immune system learn to tolerate unfamiliar things that aren’t harmful, like eggs and pollen and other common allergens, so it doesn’t set off an unnecessary response. (read more on that here)

When the microbiome is overpopulated with bad bacteria, those lessons get taught the wrong way. Plus, those pathogens create their own problems, like inflammation and leaky gut (by causing damage to the gut’s protective barrier).

 

How a Gut Imbalance Can Make Your Kid Sick

The most obvious signs of dysbiosis will show up first in a child's gut, causing stomach aches, diarrhea, constipation, and other forms of gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort. But those symptoms can be a sign that much more is going on with your child’s immune system.

Studies show that dysbiosis in childhood can lead to a whole host of long-term health problems, including:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma (link)
  • Type 2 diabetes (link)
  • Obesity (link)
  • Depression and anxiety (link)
  • Autism (link)
  • Digestive problems

That’s why it’s so important to keep BOTH your child’s microbiome and yours in good balance.

 

What Threatens a Healthy Microbiome?

There are dozens of things that can upset a healthy microbiome, but the "Big Three" include: 

  1. Antibiotics: Antibiotics are designed to kill whatever bad bacteria is making your child sick, but antibiotics are not selective, so that also kill off the good, beneficial bacteria in your child’s gut microbiome. That’s why so many kids have stomach issues during and after a round of antibiotics (research). What’s worse, according to a recent study, one in ten children receive antibiotics they don’t need every year. 
  1. Glyphosate: Glyphosate is the most-used herbicide (weed killer) in the world. It contaminates our tap water and thousands of the foods we eat regularly – including popular children’s breakfast cereals. It’s commonly sprayed on playgrounds and fields. And it can also do some serious damage to the beneficial bacteria in the microbiome.
  1. Processed Foods: High-fat, high-sugar processed foods help feed and strengthen pathogenic bacteria and reduce microbiome diversity (read the research). Those foods are staples of the standard American diet, and sadly count among most kid’s (and parent) favorites.

Along with the Big Three, other things that can hurt your child’s microbiome include pesticides, artificial food colors, antacids, too much hand sanitizer, stress (like pressure to perform in school), too much indoor playtime, and microwaved plastic containers.

 

How to Protect Your Child’s Microbiome

All of those threats may seem overwhelming, but there are a lot of simple things you can do to protect your child’s microbiome without spending a ton of money or time. 

  • Encourage your kids to play outside in clean dirt (no pesticides, no weed killer). Younger kids can make mud pies… older kids can help in the garden… all kids can just have fun and get dirty. Clean dirt exposes kids to healthy bacteria in the soil – the bacteria that humans used to get plenty of before we started washing everything all the time. (research)
  • Let your kid interact with pets regularly. Studies show that babies from families with pets have healthier, more diverse microbiomes. And kids who grow up with dogs are less likely to develop asthma, allergies, and obesity. 
  • Make sure you kids get enough fiber, which is plentiful in most plant foods. Some of that fiber – called prebiotics – can’t be digested by people… but it’s what probiotics love to eat. So while fruits and veggies nourish your kids with essential vitamins, they also nourish the good bacteria in their guts. Can’t get your kid to eat enough fruits and veggies? Click here to learn more about the easiest way to make sure they’re getting enough prebiotic fiber. (link)
  • Give your child a high-quality spore probiotic every day to boost beneficial bacteria and stamp out the bad bacteria that can cause health issues.

 

Giving Your Child an Effective Daily Spore Probiotic

Kids don’t like to take pills, and most kids can’t swallow pills or capsules anyway. And the amount of probiotics they’ll get in fortified foods (like yogurt – if your kid will even eat yogurt) can’t do much to sway the balance of their microbiome.

Like adults, kids need probiotics that actually get the job done.

So how can you get your kid to take high-quality spore probiotics?

It couldn’t be easier.

Unlike the standard probiotics you get at the grocery store, spore probiotics can survive and thrive even in extreme temperatures. That means you can

  • bake them into brownies…
  • mix them into chicken fingers batter…
  • sneak them into mac-n-cheese
  • swirl them into smoothies…
  • freeze them in fruit pops…

…and they won’t lose even a smidge of effectiveness.

Now, this won’t work with other types of probiotics. They require a pretty comfortable temperature range, which is why so many need to be refrigerated so they don’t die off. And when you think about that, if they can’t even manage room temperature, how on earth will they get through your 98.6 degree body temperature, which also includes a journey through stomach acid?!

Spore probiotics, on the other hand, are rugged, outdoor types. They can withstand anything from the scorching desert sun to the iciest frozen tundra. They get through the digestive system 100% intact and ready to roll. And when they finally arrive at their destination in the gut, they clear out bad bacteria and encourage good bacteria for a better-balanced microbiome and a healthier immune system.

 

Just Thrive Spore Probiotics for Kids

As a parent, you have plenty to worry about – but your kid’s microbiome doesn't have to be on that list.

A daily dose of Just Thrive spore probiotics can help keep your child’s gut bacteria in healthy balance. Just Thrive includes four clinically studied strains of spore probiotics, including strains that were studied extensively in children.

Protect your child’s microbiome with Just Thrive today… and set them up for a lifetime of better health.

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