Probiotics Throughout the Lifespan
Based on the scientific research probiotics and prebiotics have become foundational to overall health and optimal wellness.* And that’s true for all ages. Here we profile some of the many benefits probiotics have shown across the entire lifespan.
Infants and Children
According to a 2017 review published in the journal Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, current evidence indicates that probiotics can help children with gastrointestinal issues, children on antibiotics and those needing additional respiratory tract support.* In that review, two strains in particular were highlighted as being effective: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Saccharomyces boulardii.
A 2014 randomized clinical trial featured in the journal JAMA Pediatrics discovered that prophylactic use of probiotics helped to reduce gastrointestinal concerns in infants during the first three months.*
Adolescents and Young Adults
Most teens are concerned with healthy skin. A 2015 review published in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology profiled several studies demonstrating efficacy of probiotics versus placebo.
Research regarding the gut-brain connection is increasing significantly. This area of science tells us that adolescents and young adults may benefit from probiotics from a cognitive and mental health perspective. A 2015 study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity provided the first evidence showing that probiotic intake helped support healthy mood in young adults (average age 20) compared to placebo. Since that time, other studies have shown that probiotics can support cognition and mental health.*
With both men and women, probiotics have been shown to support the health of the urogenital system and the digestive tract.* In men, probiotics can also support prostate health.* In women, probiotics can play a role in estrogen metabolism, which means probiotic supplementation can help support women during hormonal changes such as menstruation and menopause.*
An unexpected benefit to probiotics is support for healthy weight.* According to a 2016 review published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, the research is compelling when it comes to probiotics’ ability to help reduce weight concerns. Interestingly, a 2010 randomized, double-blind trial published in the International Journal of Obesity demonstrated that when pregnant women take probiotics, their offspring are less likely to be obese or overweight.*
Elderly individuals also benefit from probiotics in many of the same ways as younger adults. There are immune, digestive, and even cognitive support benefits that seniors gain through probiotic supplementation.*
One of the most beneficial effect for seniors, is support for GI motility.* The effects of aging, and reduced activity, dietary intake, fiber intake, fluid intake easily lead to constipation in this age bracket. A 2017 review in the journal Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics analyzed 9 studies to conclude that “administration of probiotics significantly improved constipation in elderly individuals.” Studies have found that strains of Bifidobacterium are the most beneficial for reducing incidence of occasional constipation.*
As people age, there can also be issues with malnutrition related to poor nutrient absorption. The authors of a 2014 review published in the journal Gut Microbes, stated “As well as improving nutritional status by mitigating the effects of diarrhea [in the elderly], there is growing evidence that probiotics and prebiotics could be used to improve the absorption of micronutrients (such as calcium and iron) from ingested food.”
A 2016 randomized, double-blind, controlled-trial published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience demonstrated that probiotic supplementation supported cognitive function in older people compared to placebo.*
The scientific literature is very clear in presenting information about the myriad of ways probiotics can help individuals of all ages, underscoring their value as a foundational supplement for everyone.
Akbari E, Asemi Z, Daneshvar R, et al. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. 2016;8:256.
Hojsak I. Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition. 2017;20(3):139-146.
Indrio F, Di Mauro A, Riezzo G, et al. JAMA Pediatrics. 2014;168(3):228-233.
Kober M, Bowe WP. International Journal of Women’s Dermatology. 2015;1(2):85-89.
Kobyliak N, Conte C, Cammarota G, et al. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2016;13:14.
Luoto R, Kalliomaki M, Laitinen K, Isolauri E. International Journal of Obesity. 2010;34:1531-1537.
Savilahti E. Bioscience and Microflora. 2011;30(4):119-128.
Sheridan PO, Bindels LB, Saulnier DM, et al. Gut Microbes. 2014;5(1):74-82,
Steenbergen L, Sellaro R, van Hemert S, et al. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 2015;48:258-264.
Martínez-Martínez MI, Calabuig-Tolsá R, Cauli O. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. 2017;71:142-149