As the pandemic is testing our immunity, it's vital to remember that our bodies work best when we maintain a healthy lifestyle. While lovely vegetables and fruits are plentiful, sometimes your little one’s body may require additional nutrients at times. Vitamins supplements, and probiotics may be important for some children to improve their immune systems, particularly during a public health crisis.
Probiotics stay in the intestines, where they can promote a healthy, diverse bacterial balance & help in digestion, while vitamins go to work after they're taken into the bloodstream. The gut microbiota can help keep our immune and digestive systems in good shape.
Both vitamins and probiotics have their importance and role to play, whatever the case may be, consult with your child’s healthcare professional first to choose the best vitamin supplement or probiotic.
What are Multivitamins?
Multivitamins are supplements that contain many different vitamins and minerals, sometimes alongside other ingredients. Given that there’s no standard for what constitutes a multivitamin, their nutrient composition varies by brand and product. Multivitamins are also referred to as multis, multiples, or simply vitamins.
They’re available in many forms, including tablets, capsules, sprays, chewable gummies, powders, and liquids. Most multivitamins should be taken once or twice per day. Make sure to read the label and follow the recommended dosage instructions. Multivitamins are available in pharmacies, large discount stores, and supermarkets, as well as online.
What do Multivitamins Contain?
Thirteen vitamins and about 15 minerals are essential to your health Many produce enzymes and hormones, boost your immunity, and keep your nerves and organs functioning properly. Your body also needs these nutrients for reproduction, maintenance, growth, and the regulation of bodily processes. Multivitamins may offer many of these vitamins and minerals — but in varying amounts. They may also contain other ingredients like herbs, amino acids, and fatty acids.
Additionally, some supplements may contain ingredients that can interact with medications, so speak with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement. Furthermore, the nutrients in multivitamins may be derived from real foods or made synthetically, making it essential to purchase your vitamins from a reputable manufacturer.
What are Probiotic Foods?
Probiotics are the good microorganisms naturally present in the digestive tract that aid in digestion and reduce inflammation.
While there are several different classes and types of probiotics, some of the most common include:
- Saccharomyces boulardii, which is a type of yeast
Food manufacturers may also call probiotics “live culture” or “active cultures.” Many fermented products contain probiotics, which means the bacteria in them are still living.
Often, the food production process destroys living bacteria. If a product is available on a shelf and is not refrigerated, it may not contain live and active probiotics.
Examples of dairy products that contain probiotics include:
- aged cheeses, such as cheddar, gouda, or mozzarella
- kefir, a probiotic milk drink
- traditional buttermilk (must not be cultured)
Not all foods must be dairy to contain probiotics. Examples of other probiotic foods include:
- non-dairy yogurts
- fresh, sour dill pickles
- kombucha, a fermented tea
- natto, a food made from fermented soybeans
- tempeh, a popular meat substitute
- water or brine-cured olives
What’s Better for Children?
Probiotics are added to some foods like yogurt and cultured cottage cheese. They are naturally occurring in fermented foods like buttermilk, kefir, and sauerkraut. Raw cheese made from unpasteurised milk is another source.
Some people support the health benefits of raw milk and products made from raw milk, but it shouldn’t be given to children. Raw milk may contain dangerous bacteria. It can cause life threatening illness.
If you’re wondering if probiotic foods or supplements are better, the answer isn’t clear cut, so don’t worry too much. The question should be - Is your child getting enough probiotics in their food? Is cheese / curds/buttermilk a part of daily diet? If not, Probiotics is the answer. Is your child on powerful antibiotics that kill the normal GUT bacteria? If so, Probiotics is the answer.
The same can be said for vitamin supplements. If your child is a picky eater, if it's not really possible for you to give your child a wholesome healthy food everyday or if your child doesn’t finish the wholesome healthy meal -Then Vitamin supplements are the answer.
Most parents opt for Vitamin supplements as it’s not practical to actually provide, as well as make sure that the child eats a healthy meal every time. Just make sure that the supplements you buy have correct doses as per ICMR ( Indian Council of Medical Research) guidelines and are from standard companies like ForKids. It is advisable to also not buy foreign brands, as the doses will not be as per Indian children’s requirements and chances of overdosage exist.
Probiotics may help relieve acute constipation, colic, and acid reflux in healthy infants and children. They may also help prevent secondary infections and diarrhoea in kids using antibiotics. Probiotics may even help prevent eczema and allergies in some children.
So in the present day world and also in the long run if you’re considering what’s best for your child, there is no harm in supplementing your child's diet with multivitamins & probiotics in correct dosages.