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Prebiotics and probiotics may improve gut health in toddlers

Prebiotics and probiotics promote a healthy environment in the gut—the microbiome—by encouraging beneficial bacteria that increase regularity. Synbiotics combine the two.

Doctors believe that the first three years of life are critical to establish a healthy gut microbiome so the child can grow and develop normally. In this study, 129 healthy children, ages one to three, took a placebo or daily doses of the prebiotics fructo- and galacto-oligosaccharides plus the probiotic bifidobacterium breve.

After 12 weeks, while the placebo group had not changed, children in the synbiotics group saw a 22 percent increase in the proportion of bifidobacterium in the gut, and increases in lactobacillus and enterococcus probiotics. The synbiotics kids also had better acid balance in the gut, which doctors said led to softer stool consistency, and improved regularity. Discussing the findings, doctors said synbiotics may have a positive effect on young children’s microbiome, increasing beneficial bifidobacterium, improving acid balance, and promoting softer stools.

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