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Child Development

Learn Why Probiotics are Essential to Your Child’s Health

Probiotics are all the buzz right now. But, what exactly is a probiotic? Let’s break it down, the word probiotic comes from the Greek word pro meaning “promoting” and biotic meaning “life.”

 

They are known as friendly microorganisms that live mainly inside our gut. We often associate bacteria as causing disease, but what if we told you that probiotics are GOOD bacteria that can be beneficial to our bodies!

 

Probiotics work to balance the number of good microorganisms versus the not so good microorganisms that live in your body. By establishing a good balance of microorganisms – your immune system and digestive system are able to maintain a healthy environment. This healthy balance reduces your child’s susceptibility to colds, digestive concerns, allergies, and more.

 

Probiotics - PROTECT, PREVENT AND PLAY!

 

Probiotics, PROTECT!

They help us to:

  1. Have a healthy digestive system9
  2. Have a strong immune system (more than 70% of your immune system lives in your gut!)8, 11
  3. Create a friendly and healthy gut environment by outnumbering bad bacteria
  4. Protective us from invading pathogens

 

Probiotics, PREVENT!

Probiotics can help children with:

  • Colic1
  • Eczema12
  • Diarrhea3,7
  • Allergies5
  • Negative effects from antibiotic exposure7
  • Common colds6
  • Asthma4
  • And more!

 

Probiotics, PLAY!

So, you can see how probiotics are friendly and can help our children have a

  • Happy tummy
  • Happy skin
  • Happy immune system
  • Happy development

 

To increase the number of good bacteria that your child receives, you can supplement with a good quality probiotic. Alternatively, probiotics are present in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut. In order to get enough probiotics into your system a supplement can be the best option! Be sure your child consumes the probiotic supplement with food to ensure optimal absorption!


About the author:

Dr. Samina Mitha, ND
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saminamitha/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saminamitha/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/saminamitha
Website: www.saminamitha.com


References:

  1. Anabrees, Jasim et al. “Probiotics for Infantile Colic: A Systematic Review.” BMC Pediatrics 13 (2013): 186.
  2. Chapman, CM et al. “Health benefits of probiotics: are mixtures more effective than single strains?” Eur J Nutr 50.1 (2011): 1-17.
  3. Cruchet, Sylvia et al. “The Use of Probiotics in Pediatric Gastroenterology: A Review of the Literature and Recommendations by Latin-American Experts.” Paediatric Drugs 17.3 (2015): 199–216.
  4. Das, Rashmi Ranjan. “Cesarean delivery, antibiotic exposure, and probiotics: Relationship with childhood asthma.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 128.5 ( 2011): 1133-1134.
  5. Furrie, Elizabeth. “Probiotics and Allergy.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 64.4 (2005): 465-469.
  6. Hatakka, Katja et al. “Effect of Long Term Consumption of Probiotic Milk on Infections in Children Attending Day Care Centres: Double Blind, Randomised Trial.” BMJ : British Medical Journal 322.7298 (2001): 1327.
  7. Hempel, Susanne et al. “Probiotics for the Prevention and Treatment of Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” JAMA 307.18 (2012):1959-1969.
  8. Mueller, Noel T. et al. “The Infant Microbiome Development: Mom Matters.” Trends in molecular medicine 21.2 (2015): 109-117.
  9. Quigley, Eamonn M. M. “Gut Bacteria in Health and Disease.” Gastroenterology & Hepatology 9.9 (2013): 560–569.
  10. Scourboutakos, Mary et al. “Mismatch Between Probiotic Benefits in Trials Versus Food Products.” Nutrients 9.4 (2017): 400.
  11. Vighi, G et al. “Allergy and the Gastrointestinal System.” Clinical and Experimental Immunology 153.Suppl 1 (2008): 3-6.
  12. Yeşilova, Yavuz et al. “Effect of Probiotics on the Treatment of Children with Atopic Dermatitis.” Annals of Dermatology 24.2 (2012): 189–193.

The Importance of Vitamin D and Babies

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for our babies! We as humans absorb UVB rays from the sun in order to produce Vitamin D naturally in our skin! Our babies are very gentle, especially in the early stages of their lives and exposure to the sun is not recommended. So, how do babies get Vitamin D and why is it really an essential vitamin to be given so early on? Below we will go through my ultimate guide on Vitamin D and babies!

 

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is actually a hormone that is produced naturally in our bodies when we are exposed to the UVB rays of the sun. However, exposure to the sun has been controversial over the years. This has led to covering our skin with clothing, sunscreen, shade, etc. But the less exposure we have to the sun the less Vitamin D we produce. Therefore, supplementing with Vitamin D can be very helpful!

 

Should you give your child a Vitamin D supplement?

A Vitamin D supplement can be very beneficial to our babies especially under the age of 6 months when they should not be exposed to the sun. A deficiency in Vitamin D has been known throughout history to cause Rickets, which is a weakening or softening of our bones. This is due to the role Vitamin D has in the absorption of calcium.

 

As your child ages, you may feel like they are exposed to enough sun. However, there are some other factors to consider. For example, our latitude, cloudy days, their complexion, time of day, smog and the season. Those with darker skin tones have a harder time in producing Vitamin D than those with lighter skin tones.

 

Even if a mother takes a supplement and eats Vitamin D rich foods and breastfeeds, their child will still not get enough Vitamin D. Therefore, it is important to give your child some sort of Vitamin D supplement to ensure they are getting their recommended daily requirement.

 

How do I know if my child has a deficiency in Vitamin D?

• The child is breastfed
• The child is not exposed to sunlight
• The child lives in the northern hemisphere (includes Canada – since fewer UVB rays can reach us here!)

 

At what age, should your baby start taking Vitamin D?

You can start as early as a few days after they are born. If you are breastfeeding, your child needs to supplement since there is not enough Vitamin D in breastmilk. If you are giving your child less than 32 ounces of Vitamin D fortified formula daily, you can also supplement with Vitamin D. Please consult your doctor before giving your child any supplement.

 

What are the benefits of Vitamin D?

The biggest benefit of Vitamin D for our children is the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D is also beneficial in supporting our immune system!Therefore, it is important our children get enough Vitamin D as their immune system is constantly developing.

 

How do you know what supplement is best?

Ensure you obtain a Vitamin D3 supplement and NOT Vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is the active form. Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, make sure your child takes their supplement around the time of feeding. This will ensure it is absorbed properly.

 

Are there food sources of Vitamin D?

Some foods are fortified with Vitamin D such as cereal and milk. There are also some foods that naturally contain Vitamin D such as salmon, tuna, and liver.

 

As you can see, Vitamin D is one of the most important supplements we can give to our children. So, if you are thinking about providing your child with any supplements, Vitamin D can be the best place to start! As always, speak to your healthcare provider before giving your child any supplements.


Johnson, Lana R. “Vitamin D Insufficiency Due To Insufficient Exposure To Sunlight And Related Pathology”. Inquiries Journal. N.p., 2017. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.

“Vitamin D Supplementation | Breastfeeding | CDC”. Cdc.gov. N.p., 2017. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.


About the author:

Dr. Samina Mitha, ND
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saminamitha/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saminamitha/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/saminamitha
Website: www.saminamitha.com

Jaundice in Babies

Jaundice is often used to describe the yellow color of the skin or the whites of eyes. It is a common condition seen in newborn babies. So, what truly going on in the body to cause this? Well, it indicates that there is excess bilirubin in the bloodstream. Bilirubin is a yellow material created in the body as it replaces old red blood cells. The liver’s role is to break down the bilirubin which will eventually be removed via stool. But the liver may be still developing in babies, therefore the liver may not be able to keep up with the production of bilirubin in the body.

 

While it may seem alarming for your baby to have a condition so early on in life, it is very common and often not worrisome!

 

What are the common causes of Jaundice?

  • Bilirubin is produced faster than the liver can break it down.
  • The liver is still developing in babies, meaning it might need some time in order to effectively break down the bilirubin.
  • The intestines may be absorbing the bilirubin which would normally be removed via stool.
  • Breastfeeding jaundice can occur within the first week of the baby’s life. This is due to babies who are not nursing well or the mother’s milk supply is low.

 

What are the common symptoms associated with jaundice?

  • Yellowing of skin and whites of eyes
  • Babies with severe jaundice may be very tired and feed poorly

 

What should you do if you notice jaundice in your baby?

Health care providers will check for jaundice once the baby is born. Hospitals will generally check for jaundice after 24 hours have passed. However, jaundice can be seen in babies after 2-4 days of being born. If you notice any signs of jaundice you should get your baby tested. This is done with a blood test to measure levels of bilirubin. Most of the time it is not a problem and goes away within 2 weeks.

 

What is the common treatment for jaundice?

Treatment is generally not required. Initiating treatment for jaundice will depend on the level of bilirubin, how fast the levels are rising, the baby’s age, and how early the baby was born.

 

The best treatment is to ensure the baby is getting enough fluids via breastmilk or formula. Feed the baby often is recommended in order to encourage regular bowel movements.

 

Phototherapy may be used if the baby’s bilirubin levels are really high – this is the common blue light used in hospital settings. The light helps to encourage the breakdown of bilirubin in the skin.

 

When should you be concerned?

You should be concerned if your baby has a fever, seems to be listless or is not feeding well. If in any case, you have a suspicion that your baby has jaundice talk to your medical provider.


Jaundice, Newborn. "Newborn Jaundice: Medlineplus Medical Encyclopedia". Medlineplus.gov. N.p., 2017. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.


About the author:

Dr. Samina Mitha, ND
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saminamitha/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saminamitha/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/saminamitha
Website: www.saminamitha.com

DHA for Kids

I’m sure it no surprise that you have heard the buzz about DHA/Omega-3/fish oil supplementation for our kids! It has become a known supplement that is important to include in our daily routine. But, why exactly is it important for our children? What kind of fish oil is best? On the blog today, we are going to go into the nitty gritty on everything you need to know about fish oil supplements for kids.


What is Omega-3 (DHA)?

Omega-3 fatty acids are considered Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). They are essential because our bodies cannot produce them, instead we must get the fatty acids from our diet. These fats are incredibly important as they make up every single cell in our body! Two common types of omega-3 are known as EPA (eicosapentaenoicacid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

 

In order to get enough omega-3 from our diet we would need to consume salmon or sardines a couple times a week and our bodies would need to properly absorb the fish in order to obtain the value of the oils. Therefore, most children do not get enough omega-3 in their daily diet. So consuming a fish oil supplement is key for our children’s health!


What are the benefits of DHA in fish oil?

There are a multitude of benefits of fish oil, especially for our children. Here is a list of benefits:
• Supports healthy brain development
• Supports growth and development
• Helps to improve vision acuity
• Helps to treat skin concerns (ie. eczema)
• Helps with mood disorders (ie. anxiety, depression)
• Helps children with ADHD

 

DHA, in particular, has been shown to help with brain development in our children. A study done at Oxford University showed higher levels of DHA helped with reading, memory and behavioral problems. Therefore, looking for a supplement with higher DHA than EPA is important for children!


How to choose a good fish oil?

There are a few things to look out for when purchasing a good quality fish oil. The first is the type of fish that is in the product – look for sources of small fish such as anchovies and sardines. The second is making sure the fish oil is in triglyceride (TG) form as this is the form commonly found naturally in fish. If the supplement is in ethyl ester form it is not found in nature and can only be created through chemical synthesis (therefore this ethyl ester form is cheaper!).

 

So as you can see, fish oil is a great way to provide some extra support to our little ones! As always, talk to your doctor before supplementing with fish oil.


"Taking Omega-3 Every Day Could Help Children Who Have Poor Reading Skills". Mail Online. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.


About the author:

Dr. Samina Mitha, ND
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saminamitha/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saminamitha/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/saminamitha
Website: www.saminamitha.com