Everything you need to know about probiotics and prebiotics for babies

Everything you need to know about probiotics and prebiotics for babies

Prebiotics and probiotics have begun to appear in baby meals, supplements, and newborn formulas. You might be curious about what probiotics and prebiotics are, if they are safe for young children, and whether your kid will benefit from taking them.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are similar to the beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut. They are often referred to as "good" or "helpful" bacteria because they help keep the gut healthy. On the other hand, prebiotics are non-living things. They are indigestible substances that support a balance between the beneficial and harmful microorganisms on your skin. When probiotics and prebiotics are combined, whether in skin cream or food, they form what is known as a synbiotic. Supplements, additives, and specific meals like yogurt and cheese are examples of common synbiotics.

When a baby is born, the beneficial bacteria that enhance immunity and help with digestion are glaringly absent from the infant's gut. Breast milk from a mother is a baby's first exposure to probiotics. Probiotics ensure that our bodies have enough beneficial microorganisms to operate as planned. Baby probiotics are therefore a baby's first line of defence since they assist in balancing the "good bacteria" in their bodies. Prebiotics are used in a number of infant skincare products, including creams and lotions, to maintain the skin's health. As a result, the skin's natural bacteria are better regulated, the skin's barrier is improved, and there is a lower chance of irritation and inflammation. Prebiotics are plant-based carbohydrates that serve as food for the development of probiotic bacteria that are good for your baby's skin.  They cannot be digested by humans; yet, when consumed or applied, they have the ability to favorably improve or sustain the healthy microbiome found in the stomach or on the skin.

Two main categories of probiotics are:

Lactobacillus is considered “friendly bacteria," commonly found in the human digestive system and in probiotic foods. 

Bifidobacterium is a bacterial group that lives in the intestines and can be cultured outside the body for use in probiotic yoghurts.

Ingredients found in skincare products that are high in prebiotics include:

Oats are helpful in soothing itchy and irritated skin.

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol (“good” alcohol) that is found in many fruits and vegetables, like bananas, strawberries, lettuce, and plums. It replenishes moisture and helps prevent it from evaporating by strengthening the skin barrier.

Fructose and glucose deliver hydration-boosting qualities in addition to their prebiotic benefits.

Ginseng, a popular bioactive ingredient, has anti-inflammatory qualities that can positively impact the microflora in the gut when administered orally. It can also help reduce inflammation on the skin’s surface when applied in cream form.

Sugarcane or chicory root-derived inulin offers water-binding properties.

Alpha-glucan oligosaccharide functions as a prebiotic as well as an antioxidant.

Plant extracts from garlic, onions, oats, barley, wheat bran, asparagus, bananas, flaxseed, and their derivatives may also deliver prebiotics to the skin.

Benefits of using probiotics and prebiotics for babies:

Baby’s skin is far more delicate than adults, thus, taking precautions and keeping it immune should be our first priority. Probiotic- and prebiotic-rich foods and skincare products can both be used to treat a range of skin conditions and offer wonderful health advantages, especially for infants.

  • Reduces diaper rashes: The application of baby powder that has the goodness of oats and corn starch can help prevents diaper rashes as oats act as an amazing anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant prebiotic.

Pro Tip: You can also apply moisturizing baby balm, as recommended by doctors, which helps prevent diaper rash naturally. CITTA’s moisturizing baby balm has the goodness of 7 nourishing oils that provide long-lasting moisturization and prevent dryness. Its anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties help prevent diaper rashes and skin infections. 

  • Reduces eczema: The application of a foaming baby wash has the goodness of glucose, xylitol and other natural ingredients to restore the skin barrier and keep the skin hydrated. Xylitol and glucose work as prebiotics and can protect the baby's skin from dryness and keep it hydrated.
  • Reduces cradle cap: A foaming shampoo that has xylitol, oats and amino acids works wonderfully on cradle cap. Prebiotics like Xylitol acts as moisturizing agent, amino acid acts as hair conditioner, and oats help prevents irritation and imparts smoothness.
  • Reduces Reflux: Probiotic bacteria can significantly lessen the symptoms of reflux that occur in infants' digestive tracts. The probiotics' bacteria aid in the stomach's proper food digestion while also lowering the chance of reflux, dyspepsia, and other illnesses of a similar kind.
  • Improve bowel movements: Constipation, particularly in newborns, is a warning indication of a digestive problem. Even in infants with a history of persistent constipation issues, giving probiotics on a daily basis can help improve the regularity of their bowel movements.
  • Improve gassiness: The usage of probiotics for newborns with gas has been shown to have tremendous benefits and has decreased the child's symptoms of colic and gassiness. In addition to improving digestion, probiotic supplements that include the helpful bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri also lessen intestinal inflammation.
  • Diarrhoea is a condition characterized by the frequent passage of liquid-like stools. Diarrhoea is an indication that there is a problem with a child's digestive tract, thus physicians frequently advise probiotics for newborns who are experiencing diarrhoea.

Do Probiotics and Prebiotics Have Any Side Effects on Babies?

Probiotics have no long-term adverse effects on the infant; however, there could be a few issues in the first few days after commencing probiotic intake. Mild digestive issues, including gas, bloating, stomach discomfort, constipation, or diarrhea, are what these symptoms represent. They take place as a result of a higher number of friendly bacteria colonizing the gut, which alters the equilibrium in the intestine. If the symptoms continue, you might try lowering the dosage and then gradually raising it. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are naturally occurring substances that have no adverse effects on the skin of the newborn and instead help to maintain its health and resistance. Babies can consume probiotics and prebiotics since they significantly improve the child's immune and digestive stability. They can reduce common problems like diaper rashes, eczema, constipation, and diarrhoea and play a pivotal role in the child's nutrition absorption. 

However, it's important to note that the evidence supporting the use of probiotics in baby skincare and food still needs to be expanded, and more research is needed to fully understand their effectiveness and safety. It's always a good idea to speak with a doctor before using any new product, especially on a baby, to ensure that it is appropriate and safe.


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