WHAT IS PROBIOTICS?
You have probably heard of the benefit of eating yogurt because of the bacteria in it. These same bacteria in yogurt are probiotics, which are friendly bacteria that live in our intestines, and do many great things to keep our body healthy.
Some of these bacteria help us digest foods, and some make nutrients, such as vitamin K, which is vital in stopping bleeding. The other benefit of these bacteria is keeping our intestines healthy and intact, thus, strengthening our bodies’ immune system to defend against foreign substances, bacteria and viruses.
Probiotics may inhibit harmful toxin-producing bacteria by crowding them out and improving the balance of micro-organisms in the gut. It also helps with chronic intestinal inflammatory diseases, prevention and treatment of pathogen-induced diarrhea, and atopic diseases. In fact, there are many researches focusing on the health benefits of probiotics and gut bacteria.
The GastroIntestinal (GI) Tract
Image the intestine from the mouth to the anus is a giant super long tube. Nutrients are absorbed along the tubing through many different intricate mechanisms, mainly in the small intestines. In order for the intestine to defend our body against unwanted substance well, it has to be very selective or picky as to what it would allow to be absorbed. The intestine lining, in general, is pretty much sealed tight allowing only very small particles or molecules, such as very well digested foods to be absorbed. Bacteria don’t normally get pass the intestinal wall. That is usually disastrous.
Imagine what we put in our body everyday – processed foods, medications, antibiotics, chemicals, preservatives. When we eat processed foods, we are feeding the bad bacteria and changing the intestinal environment to be more favorable to pathogenic bacteria.
Antibiotics that we take to treat bacterial infection also kill off beneficial bacterial in the gut as well, allowing yeast to overgrowth because there is more resources for the yeast to thrive now. As a result of these, the gut starts to lose its integrity as the body’s first defense mechanisms.
The Gut Feeling
Many behaviors and symptoms seen in children with ADHD and/or other developmental disorders are believed to be results of malfunctioning of the nervous system. One common explanation is the leaky gut, where the gut become so porous (full of openings) that it allows partially digested gluten (wheat protein) and casein (milk protein) to enter the blood circulation and eventually crossing the blood-brain barrier into the brain.
These partially digested proteins (gliadomorphine and casomorphine) behave like opiates in the brain triggering the undesirable behaviors and symptoms in your child. This also explains your child’s exceptional preferences for bread and dairy products.
The leaky gut is the result of an imbalance intestinal flora caused by excessive antibiotic use, diets high in processed foods and sugar, which yeast thrives on, and other possible substances that we consumed.
The Gut and ADHD
Children with ADHD frequently complain of abdominal pain. Children with poor speech or language expression, simply act out, being described as “hyper” and do “not listen”. Many children with ADHD also have speech and language delay , because children with ADHD simply cannot stay focus long enough to learn the speech pattern like other children. These children have a harder time communicating their pain to parents, and thus appeared irritable, and have difficulty focusing because they are in pain. Besides, many of these children also have a sensory processing disorder, these abdominal pain maybe unbearable to some.
HOW DOES PROBIOTICS WORK?
The intestinal flora imbalance and/or yeast overgrowth may be treated by re-populating the intestine with friendly bacteria, and increasing prebiotics intake to feed the friendly bacterial, and limiting dietary sugar and processed foods to make gut environment more conducive for non-pathogenic bactiera to thrive. Pathogenic bacteria and yeast thrive on an acidic environment that is rich in sugar.
There are over three hundred species of bacteria, both good and bad, and yeast that live in our intestines. In a healthy gut environment, these bacteria and yeast live happily with each other, just enough good bacteria, bad bacteria and yeast. However, external stressors, such as antibiotic treatment may knock this harmonious balance off, resulting in overgrowth of yeast.
Antibiotic is the opposite of probiotic. Antibiotic is medication used to treat bacterial infection. When an antibiotic is administered it eradicates most bacteria in the body regardless of whether the bacteria is beneficial or not. Because most of the intestinal bacteria is being eradicated, there is more food for the yeast, result in yeast overgrowth, which is the culprit to many diseases and symptoms.
WOULD PROBIOTICS BENEFIT ME?
Most likely if any of the following is present:
- Frequent loose stool, diarrhea, gold stool or green stool.
- Alternating between hard/dry stool mixed with mushy wet stool.
- Chronic constipation requiring medication.
- Three or more stool per day lasting for more than a month.
- Explosive stools, large stools (enough to clog toilet), excessively foul-smelling stools.
- Undigested food visible in stool.
- New or sudden onset of urine or stool incontinence in previously potty-trained children.
- Ringworm rash.
- Intermittent diffuse rashes.
- Oral thrush .
- Persistent, raw, itchy diaper rash.
- Bloatedness, gassiness.
1. Refrigerated products are more potent than shelf-stable.
2. Use high potency products. At least 8 billion CFUs (colony forming unit).
3. Start low and slow. Infants may start with 4 billion CFUs daily and gradually increase the levels until they have good stool and sleep, reduce colic, diaper rash and spit-up. Children may start with 8 billion CFUs daily until bowel habits improve.
4. For infants and toddlers, starts with bifido strains (such as bifido infantis, bifido bifidum, and bifido breve) and lactobacillus acidophilus, which colonize the intestine first.
5. After age two or three, use Lactobacillus strains (such as lactobacillus thermophilus, lactobacillus casei, lactobacillus rhamnosus, etc).6. Saccharomyces Boulardii is a strain of yeast that does not colonize in the human intestines. It works specially well during antibiotic therapy as antibiotics kills only bacteria, not yeast. It is effective in treating intestinal candida overgrowth in children.
7. If gluten and casein are concerns, consider choosing products with lactobacillus rhamnosus and lactobacillus crispatus, which may help with breaking down dietary opiates from partially digested gluten and casein.8. Choose kefir over yogurt. Both are fermented milk with probiotics. However, kefir contains more strains of beneficial bacteria, that can colonize in the intestines. While yogurt contains only transient bacteria that does not colonize. Besides, kefir also contains strains of beneficial yeasts that our body needs.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF IT'S WORKING?
Expect a few weeks for ADHD symptoms or GI symptoms to improve. You may initially see some worsening of symptoms. This period is referred to as "toxic diet off", when the dying bad bugs start releasing their toxins from their dead bodies. Be patience. Things will get better. Don't give up.
Return to SUPPLEMENTS FOR ADHD
· Coenzyme Q10
· Vitamin E
· Vitamin C
· Vitamin A
· Vitamin C
· Vitamin D
· Vitamin E
is a brand that I have used for many years and have good results. What I like about it is that it provides a variety of bacteria versus just one type. Besides, I find this brand more afford than others.
is a new player in the probiotics arena. It is interesting that Saccharomcyes boulardii is not actually bacteria, but a strain of yeast that works really well for antibiotic-induced diarrhea. Doctors are prescribing these more often in hospitalized children on antibiotics.