Helping Preschool Kids Stay Healthy

A healthy outside starts from the inside.
— Robert Urich

Here are the findings—Overall: 30% Fewer Days Absent From Daycare. At first I was astonished. Then, it actually made me a bit angry. Those numbers are staggering. Why weren't these findings known by every parent of young children? If a drug showed this significant a benefit, it would be front page news! On top of that, why wasn't this common knowledge amongst pediatricians?

Here are the details of the findings revealed in the prestigious journal Pediatrics. Researchers proved the benefits of probiotics for the reduction of cold and flu-like symptoms on 326 healthy children aged three to five. This was a very well designed study that compared specific strains of a high quality probiotic versus a placebo. As you can see, the author's conclusion was nothing less than extraordinary:

Daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea (runny nose), and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence, as well as the number of missed school days attributable to illness for children 3 to 5 years of age.
— Pediatrics: 2009 Aug

Now here is where you must take caution—all probiotics are not created equal. I cannot stress this point enough. Quality counts. Medical research is always performed using the highest quality nutrients to ensure accuracy of findings. Would you use inferior materials to build your house just because they were cheaper? Of course not. The same should go for your nutritional supplements. Probiotics are live organisms and quite variable in both quality and quantity. What is essential to note is that this study was done using a very specific bacteria combination. They are Lactobacillus Acidophilus NCFM© and Bifidobacterium.

Most products found on the grocery shelves (for example: Walmart, Target, Walgreen's and GNC) are cheaper for a reason—they contain lesser quality ingredients. To make matters worse, they may also contain potentially harmful substances as noted by the New York Attorney General's Office. My suggestion is to only use high quality supplements. Inferior ingredients will ALWAYS lead to inferior results. The products available through most health professionals or true health food stores undergo stringent testing and third party certification to assure quality, purity, and effectiveness. 

If you decide to shop on your own, do your homework. Evaluate the companies thoroughly and learn about their manufacturing and research standards. Because independent certification can be costly and quality ingredients are more expensive, many companies will try to sell consumers inferior products based on a cheaper price. Remember that probiotics are live organisms that are temperature sensitive. Improper shipping or storage can result in significantly diminished effectiveness. Take the time and investigate your options. You and your family are worth it! 

For those interested, I personally recommend Metagenics UltraFlora® Children's. It contains the highest quality probiotics that ensures effectiveness. Best of all, it tastes great so kids will look forward to taking it. For parents, the Metagenics online store makes ordering easy. Simply create an account and products are shipped right to your front door for FREE! The link below will take you right there: