Anybody who has ever had a baby knows that their health is always in the balance. At this point, the focus is on nursery safety and the potential for exposure to germs or infections. But what about probiotics? Are these supplements safe for your child?
You may have heard of some benefits–it can help with eczema and other skin issues, diarrhoea, and more. However, it’s important to be cautious before you decide to give your baby a probiotic supplement as they may cause some negative side effects.
- Not all babies are created equal, and you should know if your baby has any pre-existing health conditions or allergies before administering any probiotic. Babies on antibiotics should not receive a probiotic at the same time. If they have pre-existing health conditions such as allergies, asthma, or eczema, then the benefits or risks may vary. It’s important to discuss this with your doctor before taking any action.
- Probiotic supplements may affect your unborn baby. There are multiple studies that show that harm can occur to the foetus if pregnant women take any probiotic supplements. Some of these trials were conducted in mice, and other trials were conducted in humans. Due to the lack of evidence of thorough scientific studies, you should consult with your doctor before attempting to start a probiotic supplement during pregnancy.
- Not all probiotics are created equal; they also differ in their potency and safety. You should always check dosage on the label before administering a probiotics supplement to your child as some may not contain high enough doses for children younger than 1 year old.
- Babies that are born prematurely may not be able to properly digest probiotics. Babies born prematurely tend to have very low stomach acid and lack the ability to digest milk sugar (lactose). As such, they may not have the ability to digest dairy products, which is why some doctors recommend giving a special formula instead of giving milk milk products or soy milk products to premature babies.
- It can trigger an autoimmune condition in your child. A recent study found that mothers who took probiotics had a greater chance of their child developing an autoimmune disorder as compared to mothers who did not take probiotics. While the study couldn’t determine why this happens, it may be due to the free-radical-generating probiotics interfering with the body’s natural immune system.
- The lactobacillus strains used in probiotics have been known to be harmful. In many cases, the strain of Lactobacillus that is used in probiotics is Lactobacillus casei, which has been known to cause allergic reactions. This includes symptoms such as hives; however, other symptoms may occur and include diarrhoea and vomiting.