Probiotics are especially important during the first 2-3 years of a person’s life. Babies on a natural diet suffer less from colic and other digestive disturbances. This is due to the stimulatory effect that the mother’s milk renders upon the bifidus bacteria. They have to constitute 99% of intestinal flora of healthy newborns and are very beneficial to their health because they:
- Ensure protection against intestinal infections caused by Salmonella (food poisoning), Shigella (dysentery) and enteropathogens Escherichia coli (coli Enteritis)
- Produce lactic and acetic acid which interfere with fermentation and the development of unwanted bacteria within the intestines. The more acidic environment in the intestines indirectly prevents the development of putrefactive bacteria which form toxic amines from the amino acids.
Very important for the restoration of normal intestinal flora is the provision of large quantities of Bifidobacteria especially after antibiotic treatment. Acidophilus is especially recommended during sharp infections caused by enteropathogenic bacteria – most of them are sensitive to the antimicrobial substances released by it.
In the excrements of artificially fed babies there are significantly smaller amounts of Bifidobacteria compared to naturally fed ones. Following the discontinuation of breastfeeding they decrease and the intestinal flora eventually reaches the levels of adults.
The scientific interest towards Bifidobacteria continues to grow since scientists have proven that naturally fed babies are less susceptible to infections compared to artificially fed ones. The lack of competitive microflora within the gastrointestinal tract is also a possible cause for botulism. The spores of its agent are swallowed through household dust, soil and honey. Babies usually do not have sufficient levels of stomach acid in order to destroy this type of pathogenic bacteria as adults do. Bifidobacteria prevent the infestation of these and other pathogenic bacteria in the intestinal tract by competing with them for nutrients and attachment space. Besides this they also produce antimicrobial substances interfering with the development of widespread pathogens.
Ingested through food, Bifidobacteria lead to higher weight and muscle gain due to better absorption of proteins. They also enhance the absorption of calcium and other minerals and vitamins. With their help lactase (an enzyme necessary for milk absorption) is produced.
Babies receive Bifidobacterium infantis and other beneficial microorganisms through the passage of the birth canal. These bacteria go through the baby’s mouth into the intestines and attach to their walls before other, unfriendly bacteria from the outside world do the same. Breastfeeding also helps the development of Bifidobacteria, especially that of Bifidobacteria infantis.
Read more about AquaSource's Probiotics: Probiotics Acidophilus and Bifidus