TAG | probiotics
It’s frustrating for parents and miserable for kids, but unfortunately childhood constipation is an ever-increasing issue in America. For many, constipation is just an occasional nuisance, but in some cases it can be serious, causing about 2 million trips to the doctor each year! Natural health experts believe that constipation in childhood is partially due to heavily refined foods, sedentary lifestyles and low fiber diets and are concerned about the potential link between childhood constipation and the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) later in life. Luckily, new research published in Nutrition Journal is uncovering some natural relief for constipated kids and yet another benefit of probiotics.
The study revealed that that when taken over four weeks, the probiotic bacteria Bifidobacterium breve significantly improved bowel motility and lessened abdominal pain in children. The study documented twenty children, with an average age of 7, who were given anywhere from 100 Million to 10 Billion active cultures of Bifidobacterium breve daily and asked to keep a journal of bowel habits. The journals took note of bowel frequency, stool consistency and any abdominal discomfort during the study. At the conclusion of the study, the children who took the Bifidobacterium breve daily experienced more frequent bowel movements, fewer incidences of abdominal pain, better bowel consistency and best of all no side effects.
In addition to trying probiotics, consider the following factors when addressing childhood constipation:
Constipation can be caused by dehydration, so encourage your child to drink water. Try diluting your child’s fruit juice with 50% water to sneak in some H20.
Fruit, vegetables, beans and whole grains are just a few of the many sources of dietary fiber, but don’t be afraid to use a natural supplement to boost fiber intake. Follow the age plus five guideline – take your child’s age, add 5 and that’s how many grams of fiber he or she should consume daily.
This applies to adults and children alike. Regular exercise stimulates lymphatic flow, which encourages healthy elimination, so make sure your child gets enough daily physical activity.
Today, more research is revealing the importance of probiotics for children’s health. A healthy balance of beneficial bacteria can positively influence digestion, elimination and even support immune system function, protecting kids from the countless germs at daycares and schools. To try a probiotic for your child, take a look at the variety of strains and consider either a powdered or chewable probiotic to help make the health-promoting bacteria more appealing for the little ones.
Whether you’re undergoing surgery or just getting a stitch or two, the experience of going to the hospital is scary enough without increasing concerns about Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) making the trip downright terrifying. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans come down with 1.7 million HAIs in a given year and 99,000 of those infections result in death. Believe it or not, HAIs kill more people than AIDS, breast cancer and auto accidents combined!
One major cause of HAIs is the bacteria Clostridium difficile or C. diff. Every day, over 7,000 hospital patients in America are infected with C. diff. About 300 of them will go on to die from the bacteria. So what can you do to avoid an HAI? If you’re being admitted to the hospital any time soon, consider these few tips before you check in:
1. Wash Your Hands.
We all learned this in preschool but as adults some of us need reminding, especially when in the hospital. People touch their faces, including eyes, nose and mouth very often throughout the day even though they may not realize it. It’s incredibly important to wash your hands frequently and advise any visitors you have to do the same.
2. Watch for Symptoms.
Symptoms of C. diff infection can range from diarrhea and stomach cramps to nausea. If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to tell the nurse. Your doctor will likely administer tests to determine the cause of the symptoms. Hospital workers will likely isolate you and start wearing protective gowns and gloves to avoid spreading the infection.
3. Be Proactive. Take Probiotics.
Taking supplemental probiotics before, during and after your hospital visit can support the balance of gut flora and a healthy immune response. One probiotic called Saccharomyces boulardii is especially useful for people with C. diff, particularly those that have recurrent C. diff infections, because it works quickly and is not affected by antibiotics. Other types of probiotics can help you maintain the balance of healthy bacteria and naturally crowd out the bad bacteria. Be sure to take a supplement with a variety of strains plus a high culture count to make the most impact.
Please note: C. difficile infection is a very serious, sometimes even fatal condition and should only be treated under the care of a qualified physician. Many physicians are now treating C. diff with a combination of probiotics and antibiotics, so be sure to speak to your doctor about the supplements you wish to take.