Adults take probiotics for any number of reasons—whether it be improving gut health, decreasing bloat, supporting a healthy mood, or maintaining a healthy weight. But what about the youngest among us? Should we be giving our little ones doses of beneficial bacteria as well?

New research conducted by scientists at U.C.–Davis showed that a daily dose of probiotics might support the health of newborns. With the help of Evivo—a probiotic designed for babies—they recruited 68 moms with new babies; half of the babies were given Evivo, and the other half didn’t receive any probiotic supplementation. The results showed that babies who received the probiotic had a 79 percent increase in levels of bifidobacteria, which are thought to be beneficial; they also displayed reduced levels of harmful bacteria like clostridium.

Giving probiotics to infants isn’t a brand-new concept, especially in countries like Australia, Japan, Sweden, and Finland, where they have an advanced probiotic for men culture. They have no problem giving probiotics to preemies, it is standard practice. Research has shown that probiotics can help prevent a type of intestinal inflammation called necrotizing enterocolitis in babies born prematurely and may help with eczema and digestive issues—which are common in infants—as well. Despite this, the practice of giving probiotics to babies remains controversial in the United States.

This new research is far from confirmation that all babies should be receiving probiotics, but we are a step closer to knowing when and why we might want to consider them.

Here’s what adults can eat to make sure they get their probiotics too.


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