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What Are Prebiotics for Kids?

Studies show that the state of a kid’s gut health could have a significant impact on their development into the teenage and adult years [1]. You might have heard about probiotics for gut health, but the term prebiotics has also gained attention in recent years for its potential benefits to contribute to digestive health. Let's review what prebiotics are and why they are an important factor for supporting the well-being of your little one’s gut.

Prebiotics for Kids Digestive Health

Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that serve as nourishment for the beneficial bacteria living in the gut. They essentially act as healthy food and provide nutrients for the good gut bacteria, promoting their growth and activity.

In toddlers and kids, prebiotics play a pivotal role in maintaining a balanced gut microbiota. A healthy balance of gut bacteria is crucial for proper digestion, absorption of nutrients, and supporting a robust immune system [1].

Benefits of Prebiotics for Kids

  • Better Digestion. Prebiotics help build and maintain a healthy gut environment, which can promote better digestion and nutrient absorption in kids [1].

  • Enhanced Immune Function. Over 80% of immune cells can be found in the gut [3]. Prebiotics contribute to a stronger immune response in kids by supporting a healthy gut microbiota [4].

  • Regulating Bowel Movements. Prebiotics promote regularity in bowel movements by aiding in softer and more easily passable stools. Studies how that prebiotics, specifically fiber from chicory root can improve stool frequency and texture within six weeks of daily use [2].

How to Incorporate Prebiotic Sources into Your Little One’s Diet

Foods like bananas, berries, apples, and pears all contain prebiotic fibers that can naturally support your kiddo’s gut health. Learn more about prebiotic sources from our blog, 5 Examples of Prebiotic Foods Kids Love and Top Sources of Prebiotic Fiber for Kids.

For pickier eaters and kiddos who have a more difficult time consuming a diverse amount of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, opt for a prebiotic supplement formulated specifically for kids. Begin Health’s Growing Up Prebiotics contains only 2-ingredients and every serving contains 3g of fiber from the chicory root plant to support softer and more frequent stooling within six weeks of daily use [2]. For more tips choosing the right fiber supplement, check out what our Dietitian says about What to Look for in Fiber Supplement for Your Kids.

Summary: Prioritizing your little one’s digestive health by integrating prebiotics into their diet can create healthier and happier habits that support optimal development as they grow into their teenage and adult years

Incorporating prebiotics into your kid’s routine, either through natural food sources or supplements like Growing Up Prebiotics can contribute significantly to their overall well-being by promoting balanced digestive health. Always consult with your kid’s healthcare professional before introducing any new supplement or major changes to your kiddos’ diet, especially if they have specific health conditions or are on any medications.

References:

[1] Markowiak P, Śliżewska K. Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics on Human Health. Nutrients. 2017 Sep 15;9(9):1021. doi: 10.3390/nu9091021. PMID: 28914794; PMCID: PMC5622781

[2] Closa-Monasterolo, R., Ferré, N., Castillejo-DeVillasante, G., Luque, V., Gispert-Llauradó, M., Zaragoza-Jordana, M., Theis, S., & Escribano, J. (2016). The use of inulin-type fructans improves stool consistency in constipated children. A randomised clinical trial: pilot study. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 68(5), 587–594. https://doi.org/10.1080/09637486.2016.1263605

[3] Wiertsema SP, van Bergenhenegouwen J, Garssen J, Knippels LMJ. The Interplay between the Gut Microbiome and the Immune System in the Context of Infectious Diseases throughout Life and the Role of Nutrition in Optimizing Treatment Strategies. Nutrients. 2021 Mar 9;13(3):886. doi: 10.3390/nu13030886. PMID: 33803407; PMCID: PMC8001875.

[4] Shokryazdan P, Faseleh Jahromi M, Navidshad B, Liang JB. Effects of prebiotics on immune system and cytokine expression. Med Microbiol Immunol. 2017 Feb;206(1):1-9. doi: 10.1007/s00430-016-0481-y. Epub 2016 Oct 4. PMID: 27704207.

May Zhu, RDN

May Zhu, RDN

May is the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and nutrition expert at Begin Health.



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