Well, it’s that time of year again. Time when students collectively groan and parents dance a jig in celebration. I am talking about “back to school” time. With the hectic pace of life for both parents and students preparing for hitting the books for another year, many times we forget about key supplementation. This can really benefit a student in their transition from summer fun back into the routines of the school year. One such supplement I think deserves your attention is probiotics. These are beneficial bacteria or yeast organisms that populate in our digestive tracts and other mucosal surfaces, providing numerous benefits. Here are three key reasons for our “back to schoolers” to supplement:
1. Probiotics help boost the immune system – with students now heading back indoors and spending large amounts of time in classrooms with each other, there is a dramatic increase in germ exposure and potential for kids to fall prey to illness. In one study, 326 children aged 3-5 years were randomly assigned to receive, in double-blind fashion, probiotic supplementation. Treatments were given twice per day in divided doses for 6 months, including the winter season. Compared with placebo, the probiotic group had the following results; fever reduction 53-73%, cough reduction 41-62%, decreased runny nose 28-59%, decreased need for antibiotics 68-82%, reduced absence from school 28-32%.
2. Probiotics help with allergies – the rates of childhood allergies are growing all the time. Heading back indoors can trigger many students who are especially allergic to dusts and molds. With regard to asthmatic children with allergic rhinitis, studies have shown the use of probiotics resulted in a significant reduction in the inflammatory immune chemistry produced by peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Further studies have shown specific down-regulation of T cells (immune cells) which beneficially alter the balance of pollen specific antibodies in seasonal allergic rhinitis. In short – probiotics lower the allergic load and decrease the “gunk”.
3. Probiotics help with mood – this is quite a new discovery on the probiotic front. The incidence of learning challenged students continues to rise. Everything from ADD, AD/HD, Aspergers and Autism along with students experiencing anxiety and depression in school settings, can prove challenging for both parents and teachers. Recent research is showing new gut-brain connections as happy gut ecology seems to make for happier brains. In one particular study, anxious mice dosed with probiotics showed lower levels of anxiety, decreased stress hormones, and even increased brain receptors for neurotransmitters vital in curbing worry, anxiety and fear. With better mood comes greater ease and ability to learn in school settings and beyond.
If you are thinking about a probiotic to try for any or all of the above reasons, remember that all probiotic supplements are not created equal. Many of the inexpensive varieties have much lower strains of beneficial bacteria and as such are often clinically ineffective.
I would suggest you look to AOR’s Advanced Biotics as a clinically effective probiotic. This product delivers seven probiotic strains which have been used clinically for the past 50 years. These strains have shown benefit in normalizing the immune system, decreasing DNA damage, preventing infections, reducing antibiotic-associated diarrhea, lowering cholesterol and improving overall intestinal health and function.
As discussed in this article, probiotics are very helpful for kids going back to school. Probiotics are a great preventative medicine to help ensure your student’s health and wellness throughout the year.
What are your back to school essentials? Leave a comment below!
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Leyer, GJ et al. Probiotic effects on cold and influenza-like symptom incidence and duration in children. Pediatrics 2009; 124-179.
Walker, WA. Mechanisms of action of probiotics. Clin Infect Dis. 2008; 46 (Suppl 2): S87-91.
Yang, G et al. Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis with Probiotics: An alternative approach. N Am J Med Sci. Aug 2013; 5 (8): 465-68.
Javier, AB, Forsytthe, P & Cryan, J. Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in mice via the vagus nerve. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. Sep 20, 2011; 108(38): 16050-55.