Q: My child is frequently home from school due to illness. What can I do to support a healthier immune system?
A: Children are exposed to all sorts of bad bugs at school, so it’s important for them to have a strong immune system. Sugar is often the culprit for weakening a child’s immune system, increasing their susceptibility to illnesses such as strep throat, stomach flu, and ear infections.
Reducing sugar in a child’s diet can be challenging; however, it is necessary. Overconsumption of refined sugars can lead to dysbiosis in the digestive tract, which has been shown to have an impact on the immune system. The overuse of antibiotics, cough syrups, and other medications may also affect the microbial balance in the gut.
Since 70 to 80 percent of the immune system cells reside in the gut, a healthy digestive system is needed to protect children from bacteria and viruses they’re commonly exposed to. Although there are many ways to boost immunity, such as proper nutrition and supplementation with vitamins C and D, probiotics are the most effective way to address dysbiosis and increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. With a variety of formulations to choose from, kids’ probiotics range in potency from 1 billion to 10 billion active bacterial cultures per dose.
Kids’ probiotics are like a multivitamin for the gut—strengthening a child’s own defences and keeping them healthy throughout the school year. Marketed for children as chewable tablets, they might leave many parents with a difficult task: where to hide them in the fridge to keep their kids from eating them like candy!