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Probiotics may be beneficial to kids, AAP reports

'Good bugs' can shorten the duration of diarrhea in little ones.

Walk down the supplement aisle of any natural products store, grocery store or big-box retailer, and you’ll find a growing number of probiotics marketed specifically for children. A new report by published Nov. 29 in the journal Pediatrics says evidence is building demonstrating the benefits of such products for children.

Researchers from the American Academy of Pediatrics looked at findings from high-quality studies on probiotic ingredients. They report that, when taken early during diarrhea caused by a viral infection, probiotics can shorten the duration of the illness in children. Probiotics may also prevent diarrhea in kids who are taking antibiotics.

However, the group said that more research is needed before it would advocate the use of infant formulas containing probiotics. It also warned against giving the “healthy bugs” to seriously ill children or children with compromised immune systems.

According to Nutrition Business Journal's 2009 Healthy Kids' Report, probiotics are one of the most popular offerings within the United States' $1 billion children's supplement market, behind multivitamins and omega-3 products.

Read the AAP report.

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