NPR

Probiotics For Babies And Kids? New Research Explores Good Bacteria

Sales of probiotics are soaring. While some studies on this beneficial bacteria show it can treat specific health issues in children, scientists are exploring how it may help gut health more broadly.
Source: Paige Vickers for NPR

When Melisa Martinez's son, Juelz, was born very prematurely at 25 weeks back in January, doctors at University of California, Davis Children's Hospital gave him probiotics. "They told me the probiotics may help reduce the risk of infection," Martinez says. Now, Juelz is home and doing well.

Probiotics are just one element of the care Juelz received during the weeks he spent in the NICU, but research shows that probiotics — which contain a mix of live, beneficial bacteria — can help prevent a very serious intestinal inflammation called Necrotizing enterocolitis in preemies.

"If we give a probiotic, their [a premature baby's] chance of getting Necrotizing, who is chief of Pediatric Neonatology at UC Davis and a professor of pediatrics.

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