Probiotics in pediatric patients, how could they help? Are they recommended?

October 22, 2021

Probióticos en el paciente pediátrico, ¿Cómo podrían ayudar? ¿Son recomendables?

We have more and more information backed by science that tells us the importance of the balance of the intestinal ecosystem and the impact it has on our health.

Thanks to the studies of Susan Lynch, Indira Mysoreka, Dr. Aagaard, María Domínguez-Bello, and Wang et al. It has begun to be shown that Henry Tissier's pre-established theory of the sterile uterus, which stated that bacterial colonization began at birth, could be more complex than we thought. Thanks to various studies, we now know that colonization of the microbiome begins inside the mother's womb before birth, since non-invasive bacterial communities have been found (there is no adverse response from the immune system) in the meconium and placenta.

We know that the mother's microbiota influences that of the baby, especially the oral and intestinal microbiota, since there are various routes by which these bacteria can reach the placenta through brushing or through the transport of bacteria by the immune system. friendly” from the mother's intestine to the baby (C Milani, 2017).

Taking intrauterine prophylaxis (the administration of antibiotics to the mother during childbirth), the type of delivery, the type of breastfeeding and the mother's lifestyle will influence the development of the baby's microbiota and its immune system, Well, we know that friendly bacteria such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus train the immune system, improving the absorption of nutrients, performing protective functions against pathogens and also preventing the infection of possible pathogens.

According to the magazine Science Translational Medicine , which has recently published various observational and animal studies, when imbalances occur in this set of microorganisms during early childhood, the risk of obesity, asthma, allergies, diabetes and autoimmune diseases increases later in life. The research concludes that children who had received several doses of antibiotics during the first three years of life had a lower diversity of bacteria, considered a key factor for a healthy microbiota, and, in addition, harbored resistance genes against these drugs.

That is why we must try to cultivate a healthy microbiota in both our children and parents through a correct diet free of processed products, refined flours, hydrogenated fats and sugars and provide foods with high nutritional density that do not inflame our intestine. .

We must also be aware of the multiple benefits of using probiotics in pediatrics, especially in cases of:

  • Diarrhea
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis.
  • Sepsis.
    Atopy and immunodevelopment
  • Neurodevelopment.
  • Constipation and infant colic
  • Stomach flu.

The baby's type of breastfeeding is vital, and that is why breastfeeding is recommended, as it contains a high content of GOS (more than , a type of fiber present in breast milk that is not digested and serves as food for the Bifidobacteria. It also contains lactose which is beneficial for the growth of Lactobacillus, immunoglobulins, cholesterol and many other nutrients beneficial for the growth and development of the baby. This is why prebiotics such as FOS or FOS are increasingly added to formula milk. GOS and probiotics to try to mimic breast milk in babies who cannot consume breast milk.

On the other hand, the enteral administration of probiotics from the first days of life in preterm infants is a very widespread therapy in a large part of neonatal units, due to its proven effectiveness in reducing necrotizing enterocolitis. On a neurological level, they are attributed a local anti-inflammatory action, by modulating the immune response which, consequently, could translate into less damage to the white matter of the brain (microbiome-gut-brain axis).

The use of probiotics helps in the fight against enteropathogenic agents, because they compete for nutrients and available binding sites, acidify intestinal contents, produce a variety of chemicals and increase specific and non-specific immune responses and thereby It would be beneficial in the case of gastroenteritis and diarrhea.

At least, in theory, the use of probiotics could have some drawbacks, especially in preterm infants, whose intestine lacks an effective barrier function and has greater permeability to various antigens. This could cause bacterial translocation and potential risk of sepsis, as has been demonstrated in animal models, but in the rest of the cases, the use of probiotics would be recommended, especially the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus genera: Bifidobacterium breve , L. bulgaricus , L. reuteri , Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG Bifidobacterium infanti s and Saccaromyces Boulardii.

That is why we must take care of the intestinal health of our little ones with correct nutrition, prevention and specific treatment in case the patient presents colic, constipation, diarrhea or an alteration in the evacuation habit.

For consultations with the integrative health team for pediatric and adult patients, you can request your appointment here .

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