How Do Probiotics Help Children and Pregnant Women?

How Do Probiotics Help Children and Pregnant Women?

Last update: 14 September, 2017

Probiotics are microorganisms that have great health benefits that  help babies, children and also pregnant women. Probiotics can be found in some of the products we normally consume, especially those of dairy origin.

Probiotics can be beneficial in pregnancy because they increase the body’s efficiency and speed of recovery, and they also help our immune system. Probiotics are also ideal during lactating period, as they help improve the digestive and immunologic systems.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are microorganisms that stay alive inside of our bodies, where they live with hundreds of bacteria. All of these microscopic organisms favor balance in the intestines. This community is known as the intestinal microflora. It is very important for the human body that this balance is respected between the different microorganisms in order to prevent damage caused by other types of bacteria.

Sometimes dietary problems, medications, stress, diseases and others factors affect our bacterial flora. As a consequence, this can weaken our defenses and can even lead to infections.

Furthermore, probiotics are useful to prevent other harmful bacteria from attacking. The main function of these organisms is to protect the system from the colonization from harmful bacteria and pathogens. But not all probiotics offer the same types of benefits; some are more powerful and effective in certain cases.

How do probiotics help our organism

Studies have shown that the benefits of these microorganisms can be found in immunological effects and intestinal health. Because of their benefits, probiotics are recommended in cases of diarrhea, diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other intestinal issues.

According to investigations carried out, they are favorable in the treatment of acute diarrhea when it is caused by an infection in children. Their antibiotic effect in preventing  gastrointestinal problems is also recognized. They also carry out an important immunological function, protecting the intestinal mucosa from the proliferation of harmful bacteria.

Through their study,  it has also been determined that probiotics improve symptoms in the cases of people who are lactose intolerant. Its use has also been considered in the treatment of colon cancer. This is due to the effect it has on pathological bacteria in the intestinal flora. Its role in the prevention of colon cancer has been demonstrated in animals. Other benefits of probiotics include:

  • The prevention of enterocolitis
  • Improve symptoms of indigestions
  • Reduce the symptoms of allergies and asthma
  • Help prevent urinary tract issues
  • Associated with the prevention of tumors
  • In newborns it prevents the appearance of infections
  • Reduces the effects of symptoms of colds and fevers

Food that contain probiotics

Probiotic elements can be incorporated into our diets through the consumption of certain foods. To find theses foods it is important to carefully read the labels on products. The most common components are Lactobacillus, fructooligosacarides and bifidobacterium. Generally these components are found in fermented food and dairy products such as yogurt.

It is important to point out that sometimes these products come in the form of prebiotics, an element that favors the growth of probiotics. For this reason they are usually associated with fortified foods offered in stores. Meaning, they can occur naturally or be added artificially to enrich the food.

Probiotics can be found in the following foods:

  • Yogurt
  • Packaged fortified products.
  • Sauerkraut, made with a base of cabbage and fermented vegetables
  • Miso soup, a recipe with Japanese origin that contains rice, beans, fermented rye and barely
  • Microalgae
  • Tiger nuts
  • Gherkins and other pickled vegetables
  • Bread dough
  • Tempeh, a food that is eaten as a meat substitute
  • Dark chocolate
  • Soft cheeses like gouda
  • Kefir
  • Fermented soy pasta

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Olveira y González. Actualización de probióticos, prebióticos y simbióticos en nutrición clínica. Endocrinología y nutrición. 2016. 63. (9): 437-508. DOI: 10.1016/j.endonu.2016.07.006.
  • Guía Práctica de la Organización Mundial de Gastroenterología: Probióticos y prebióticos WGO Practice Guideline: Probiotics and prebiotics. 2011. [Online].

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.