Dr. Tracy Shafizadeh is a nutritional scientist, speaker, and author with over 15 years of experience in scientific communications and life science research. Prior to serving as the Director of Scientific Communications at Evolve BioSystems, she led both product development and research services at various start-up life science companies, including Lipomics Technologies, Tethys Bioscience and Metabolon, Inc. Dr. Shafizadeh received her PhD in nutritional biology from UC Davis, studying intestinal development and folate metabolism in newborns.
Today, we spend the hour discussing the maternal and infant microbiome with respect to maternal breastmilk, human milk sugars and childhood outcome. Evolve Biosystems has produced a probiotic with excellent science to help guide us in new therapeutic discovery. We head to the beginnings of disease onset when the infant is only starting to take his or her first breaths.
I hope that you enjoy my conversation with Dr. Tracy Shafizadeh,
It’s getting cold outside and the little ones are starting to get sick at an alarming rate. I thought it might be timely to pass on some tips I have learned about how to keep your little Janie or Johnny from getting sick during the long winter ahead. Speaking to that point, I recently found an article in Parents Magazine by Michelle Crouch, about how to avoid winter sickness in your children. So, today, I thought I might review the 6 steps that the author of this Parent’s Magazine recommended and add a little Doc Smo wisdom to her article.
It’s getting cold outside and the little ones are starting to get sick at an alarming rate. I thought it might be timely to pass on some tips I have learned about how to keep your little Janie or Johhny from getting sick during the long winter ahead. Speaking to that point, I recently found an article in Parents Magazine by Michelle Crouch, about how to avoid winter sickness in your children. So, today, I thought I might review the 6 steps that the author of this Parent’s Magazine recommended and add a little Doc Smo wisdom to her article.
For years, researchers have felt that some species of bacteria introduced into the stomachs of children make their immune systems stronger and better able to fend off illness. As a group, these microbes are termed probiotic. A few years ago, physicians in Israel put this theory to the test and found that, indeed, some types of bacteria (Lactobacillus Reuteri and Bifidobacterium lactis) did make young children more able to fight off gastrointestinal viral infections. Recently, in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics, we now have good evidence that children on this side of the Atlantic get benefit from the same type of healthy probiotic bacteria.
Dr. Pedro Gutierrez-Castrellon, MD, DSc studied 336 children attending daycare in Mexico City. The study was designed well, being randomly assigned, double blinded, and placebo controlled. Studies designed this way generally yield accurate results, and indeed, the results were dramatic. Children who received the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus Reuteri had very dramatic improvement in the following health measures: the number of days with diarrhea or respiratory illness was reduced among the treatment group by a whooping 66%; antibiotic use, days absent from daycare, and number of visits to a healthcare facility were also significantly reduced. What is not to love about probiotics for children?! We now have two well designed studies coming to the same conclusion: certain types of probiotics improve the health of young children.
Integrative pediatricians have been telling us for years that probiotics and cultured/fermented foods, loaded with bacteria and other microbes, improve the health of both children and adults. This latest study proves that they were right. It is time that we stop looking at all microbes as our enemies and learn how to harness the incredible power of some of earth’s smallest creatures. For more on this fascinating subject, take a few minutes and listen to integrative pediatrician Sheila Kilbane talk about the power of probiotics on an archived DocSmo.com:
Your comments are welcome! Until next time.
Written by Paul Smolen M.D.
Welcome to another edition of docsmo.com, the home of pedcasts. We talk all things kid here with portable, practical pediatric information. Today, we are going to explore something you are undoubtedly hearing a lot about, probiotics. Can they really help you and your children be healthier, you ask? Well, I am going to help you answer that question. So sit back, crank up the mp3 player, and enjoy today’s informative pedcast.
You would have to be in a coma for the past 5 years not to notice that people who manufacture and sell probiotics are making a lot of claims that taking probiotics, large amounts of bacteria and yeast, will benefit our health. Like after the discovery of penicillin, the thinking was…lets try it on everything. It’s got to be good for you.
Is there any science behind all the talk you ask… you know proof of effectiveness or… is this all hype? To answer that let’s take a spin down “Science lane” for more understanding. The 20th century was an era when medical research focused on how microbes caused disease. Germs were seen as our enemy pure and simple. The concept of bacteria and yeast being GOOD for our health, well that was heresy. It turns out that having a robust amount of the right microbes, especially in our gut, is vital to your children’s good health. The process of getting these microbes starts right at birth when we get our mother’s germs during the birth process and all through life as we consume cultured food like yogurt and even dirt. So how do germs help our health you ask? Well, in many ways. Germs are on the front line of toxins we consume and so they sort of run defense for us there. They seem to get to the toxins before we do and inactivate them. They also stimulate our own immune system to react to threats by stimulating our immune cells to divide and by stimulating the production of our surface antibody, IgA. These microbes also crowd out the bad mean nasty bacteria that try and set up shop in our bodies both on the inside and outside. They literally crowd out the nasty germs chasing them away. Our bodies encounter the germ world on our skin and inside at the wall of our gut. Healthy bacteria in these locations seem to be very protective in these locations, preventing the leaky gut syndrome and maybe even eczema.
Based on my reading and understanding of the newest information, I think probiotics may help in the following situations:
-Treatment of infant colic
-Prevention of antibiotic associated diarrhea caused by a germ called C. Diff. More on that at (post)
-Help with irritable bowel
– Shortening of common diarrhea illness in children
-Shortening of diarrheal illness in children
-There is a good possibility that they may help prevent allergic disease
-Reduce common viral illness in children attending daycare
-Treatment of Crohn’s disease and possibly other autoimmune illnesses.
Well, I am an inquisitive person so I recently decided to put probiotics to the test myself. I live essentially in a daycare center myself, working with sick children all day. Since my level of exposure is so high to common viruses, my level of illness should be a good indicator or whether probiotics provide benefit in preventing illness I thought. Typically, summers are good for my health, but I get my first respiratory illness by October and I am usually not well again until May or June. Remember, I have 32 years of in pediatrics. I am pretty sure of this pattern, believe me. Sinus infections, bronchitis, sore throat are my usual companions for the winter months… this is despite getting a yearly flu shot and meticulously disinfecting my hands at least 50 times a day.
This year, I decided to take a probiotic to see if it would help like my integrative colleagues suggest so frequently. My wife takes it and she thinks it helps her stomach. I must say, I have been thrilled with the results to date. No colds to speak of, no diarrheal illness, and only a minor respiratory illness so far. It’s March and I am whole! Yahoo! Coincidence?, placebo effect?, possibly, but I don’t think so. I literally touch another sick child every 15 minutes. My body is bombarded with pathogenic viruses daily and so far, my defenses are working well fighting off what, until this year has been inevitable for me. If anyone should be sick at this time of year, it should be me, and I am NOT. Something is bolstering my immune responses and I think it is the probiotic I am taking.
Probiotics remind me of that old DocSmo pearl, “Prevention beats treatment, every time.” Try it with your little ones and see if it doesn’t keep them spry and active. I certainly hope it does.
Thank you for joining me today. I welcome your comments at my blog, www.docsmo.com. This is Dr. Paul Smolen, your pedcast host, hoping this cast helps you come to terms with those little germs, experts call probiotics. Until next time.
3. http://blog.ted.com/2012/07/10/6-great-things- microbes-do-for-us/
The “Let’s Talk Kids” podcast is fortunate to have as our returning guest, Dr. Shelia Kilbane who is an expert in integrative medicine. She focuses her expertise in this Pedcast on teaching us about the role of microbial life in maintaining your children’s good health. You don’t want to miss her perspective on the topic of probiotics. As always, Dr Kilbane is informative, practical, and up to date. Join us won’t you.
1. Weizman Z, et al. Pediatrics (2005)115:5-9.
2. Isolauri E, Arvola T, Sutas Y, et al. Probiotics in the management of atopic eczema. Clin Exp Allergy (2000);30:1604-10.
3. Isolauri E, Juntunen M, Rautanen T, Sillanaukee P,Koivula T. A human Lactobacillus strain (Lactobacillus casei sp strain GG) promotes recovery from acute diarrhea in children. (1991) Pediatrics 88:90-7.
4. Kalliomaki M, Salminen S, Arvilommi H, et al. Probiotics in primary prevention of atopic disease: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. Lancet (2001)357:1076-9
5. Vanderhoof J, Young R. Probiotics in Pediatrics. Pediatrics (2002)109;5:956-8.
6. Szajewska H, Mrukowicz J. Probiotics in the Treatment and Prevention of Acute Infectious Diarrhea in Infants and Children: A Systematic Review of Published Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trials. J of Ped Gastroenerology and Nutrition (2001)33:S17-S25.
*By listening to this pedcast, you are agreeing to Doc Smo’s terms and conditions.
© All Right’s Reserved.