Winter is coming! If only there were ways to support children natural defenses to help them go through this season in the best possible condition! But before getting into the ways to keep them strong, the way they might think of their favorite superhero, let’s recap what the immune system is and how it works.
The maturation of the immune system is linked to the gut microflora
Put simply, the immune system is designed to defend the body against foreign invaders such as opportunistic microorganisms. During a normal immune response, the system recognizes potentially harmful foreign antigen, activates, and mobilizes forces to organize a counterattack to defeat the threat. The natural defenses protect the body from letting the invaders through in the first place. After the skin, the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) located in the gut, is the second most important line of defense. In fact, 70% of the immune system resides in the gut. As such, the gastrointestinal tract and its microflora play a key role in the development and maintenance of immune health. It forms a protective barrier along the intestinal lumen and through several biological mechanisms.
How can children natural defenses be supported… naturally?
Childhood is a key period for the establishment of both the immune system and gut microbiota, as they co-develop in early life until they reach a more mature state. Parents know the importance of building a strong immune system, and that’s why it’s a concern for them. In 2020, 23.50% of parents reported being unsatisfied with their children’s immune system. In the first years of socialization, when repeated infections occur due to close interactions, children are prone to common infections as their immune system is building up impacting the whole family’s quality of life.
Children should pick up all the necessary nutriments, vitamins, fibers, and minerals from a healthy and diversified diet. Beyond food, other simple precautions may help them in their development, such as getting enough sleep, being physically active, living a stress-free life and of course, being up to date on essential vaccines. Scientific evidence also shows how probiotics support infants’ normal gut and immune development during their first years.
Probiotics and the gut barrier effect: By adhering to epithelial cell lines, strengthening tight junctions, competing with opportunistic microorganisms, and stimulating the antimicrobial activity like normal inhabitant bacteria in the gut, probiotics ensure gut barrier integrity.
Probiotics and the immune response: By increasing immunoglobulin A (IgA) and CD4+/ CD8+ ratio, probiotics stimulate the immune system to reinforce the immune defenses.
One key example: the world’s no. 1 probiotic supplement for children is Probiokid® a unique, documented, three-strain synbiotic . With a total of 28 clinical studies, including safety studies, Probiokid® is a dedicated formula for pediatric applications. It has demonstrated to help immune maturation in babies’ and to support children’s natural defenses during wintertime. Cazzola studied the effect of Probiokid® in 135 healthy children (three- to six-year-old) during wintertime and the results showed a significant reduction in the relative risk of health event and in school absenteeism [ Cazzola, 2010].
Probiokid® has been the most popular pediatric probiotic product in the World in the last decade, with proof of efficacy to support immune system maturation and gut microflora. Discover more here Efficacy of a multi-strain probiotic formulation in pediatric populations: A comprehensive review of 28 clinical studies.
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 FMCG Gurus, 15 000 people surveyed in 15 countries in 2020
 Data source: based on Euromonitor International’s research findings as generated via desk research and trade interviews, measured in terms of global retail sales value in 2017-2019
 Cazzola, 2010. Efficacy of a symbiotic supplementation in the prevention of common winter diseases in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Th Adv in Res Dis 0(0) 1-8.