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At What Age Should You Start Using Probiotics?

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: May 31, 2022

When the word "bacteria" enters your mind, chances are, there is a highly negative connotation or association with this word. We often think of bacteria as harmful to us or associated with a disease. Bacteria are just micro-organisms that perform different functions, some are good for us, and others, not so much. Probiotics are an example of these "friendly" bacteria (or yeast) that are extremely similar to the organisms found primarily in your digestive tract. Probiotics can be found in many foods, especially yogurt, or taken as a supplement to help aid the body in its digestion and to promote the natural growth of your gut's flora and fauna.

In this article, we'll explain the main reason people take probiotic supplements, the foods and supplements that contain these helpful organisms, and even answer what age it is safe to start taking probiotic supplements.

What Are The Main Reasons For Taking Probiotics?

Probiotics help in the natural remedy of many digestive problems, including deficiencies. Probiotics can be taken as over-the-counter supplements to fill the gaps in a lacking diet or even prescribed by a doctor to combat common health conditions and problems. This is done by primarily balancing the levels of the organisms in your intestines, mainly by eliminating the harmful bacteria that may be present. This also seems to boost the immune system as well.

Probiotics are often used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, stomach problems, ulcers, and skin conditions such as acne and eczema. Further research is ongoing to determine if probiotics are also useful in treating diseases of the liver, dental problems, and sinus/respiratory tract issues.

What Age Is It Safe To Start Taking Probiotics?

Probiotics are easily one of the best supplements that are of benefit to everyone's life. The more important question is when should I start looking for a probiotic supplement?  as these are generally extremely safe for everyone over the age of one year. 

You cannot overdose on probiotics, so making it a habit to add them to your life would not be detrimental anyway. However, it may be that you do not necessarily need probiotics in your life. You should consider a supplement if:

You have asthma or certain allergies.

Asthma, allergies, and certain respiratory problems and infections can be a sign of weak gut flora. Probiotics, when paired with medical use, can help in the alleviation of these symptoms.

Your somatic symptoms affect your mental health.

Anxiety, stress, and depression do not always necessarily stem from consistent mental strain. Sometimes mood disorders and stomach problems can make you irritable, especially if it has been going on for a long time. Probiotics can help improve the neurotransmitters from your gut to your brain, as well as stimulate your kidney health - assisting with uplifting your mood.

Ingested too many toxins, or had food poisoning.

Consuming too many intoxicating substances (drugs, alcohol), or having food poisoning destroys the beneficial bacteria in your body and makes room for the harmful ones to step in. This can cause constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, and other digestive and intestinal problems. Probiotics can help you balance these bacteria out and aid in further relief.

You have been prescribed antibiotics.

You may be thinking, "but antibiotics are a good thing!". Yes, in a way that cleaning is a good thing as well. Antibiotics are the opposite of probiotics - they are used to hunt down and destroy bacteria in your body to help prevent infections. Antibiotics cannot tell the difference between bacteria that the body wants to keep, and ones that they want to destroy, so they kill all bacteria. It is important to take probiotics to maintain balance in your body.

You've been getting sick more often.

If you've noticed that you have been getting the common cold, flu, or any intestinal and stomach infections, this is a good sign that you are lacking probiotics in your body - as well as some essential vitamins for your diet. Taking probiotics and vitamin C can help in giving your immune system the boost it needs to fend off further infections and colds.

You've developed certain skin impurities.

Digestive problems are often linked to skin health, which can result in acne, rashes, hives, eczema, and even psoriasis. Probiotics can help your gut and skin in flushing out the impurities and bad bacteria that can linger and cause problems with the various levels of dermal layers.

Are Probiotics Vegan-Friendly?

Earlier in this article, we mentioned that probiotics are bacteria and certain yeast that supplement your body's natural organisms, primarily for the maintenance of gut health. Probiotics cannot be considered vegan, vegetarian, or any other dietary restriction as they do not take part in our view of food groups. However, probiotics are often found in animal and dairy products - and by extension, are usually not vegan friendly.

This does not mean vegans cannot consume probiotic-rich foods, you can still take vegan supplements and yogurt. Here's a guide on how to make vegan yogurt without starter.

FAQs

Can I take probiotics with antibiotics?

Not only is it safe to consume probiotics and probiotic-rich foods while taking your prescribed antibiotics, but it is also actually highly necessary and recommended. Probiotics assist in reforming the healthy flora and fauna in your gut that antibiotics may destroy as a result of eliminating harmful invaders in your body that have made you sick.

Can probiotics cause acne?

Probiotics have been used as a treatment for acne. These micro-organisms help in preventing breakouts by helping to soothe disruptions in the digestive tract and intestines, positively affecting skin health.

Can probiotics make you nauseous?

Probiotics are safe to take. In some cases, your body may mistake them for invaders, which could result in some side effects. These side effects usually take the form of mild stomach problems such as gas, bloating, irregular bowel movements, and a mild allergic reaction. The bacteria is not harming you, it is just your body adapting to the intake. The side effects should subside on their own over time.


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