It is vital to ensure that there is not too much stimulation on our children’s immune system to produce unwanted inflammation that will damage their body. Nor do we want too little stimulation that will not equip their body with the ability to fight against harmful germs and diseases. Parents could employ the concept of probiotic health to help their children achieve the ‘balance’. When probiotic is consumed, it is recognized by the immune cells in the intestines. This in turn starts and enhances a series of stimulatory health effects that help to improve the children immune system in the following ways:
1. Protect young children from infections
Numerous medical research have reported the favorable protective effect of probiotic in young children attending daycare centers and nurseries. The research also showed that even if the children did contract the infections, the infections were likely to be less severe and the need of antibiotics use was negligible.
Probiotic also helps in shortening the duration and reducing the severity of gastroenteritis (diarrhea and vomiting) in babies and children. This is achieved by the production of antibodies by the probiotics against the commonest gastroenteritis virus in children, the rotavirus. Babies and children who consume probiotic have less chance of getting acute gastroenteritis.
2. Reduce harmful germs in the mouth, nose and throat
Harmful germs residing in the nose and throat are one of the most significant causes of repeated respiratory infections in young children. Researchers found that by consuming probiotic, the number of harmful germs colonizing the nose is markedly reduced. Dental surgeons also found that children who took probiotic have a lower risk of tooth decay. This is because the probiotic colonizes the mouth and gums to stimulate antibody production that plays a role in preventing tooth decay.
3. Exert beneficial effects in allergy
It is well established that allergy develops because the immune system failed to develop normally but instead ‘over-reacted’ to the surrounding environment in response to the allergen. It thus follows that if only we can ‘educate’ our immune system not to ‘over-react’, the chances of developing allergy will be greatly reduced.
It was found from research studies that babies who were given probiotic in the first 6 months of life had 50% less chances of allergic symptoms than those who were not given the probiotic. This advantageous effect was also shown to persist till they were seven years old despite a short exposure to probiotic in the first 6 months of life.
Nursing mothers who consumed probiotic too have their immune system stimulated to produce immune factors in the breast milk. These breast milk factors in turn stimulate the development of the babies’ immune system.
4. Boost the production of antibodies after vaccination
Probiotic have the ability to enhance antibody production. Research studies have showed that vaccines produce a greater degree of protection when probiotic is consumed at the same time.
5. Help to destroy cancer cells
The occurrence and spread of cancers are linked to the body’s own immune system. Certain immune system cells are capable of killing cancer cells. Probiotic was found to stimulate natural immune processes which help to actively destroy cancer cells.