A study was done with 75 babies to see what effect 6 months of supplementing the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus had on their health. Lactobacilli are one of the primary biotics that babies need. Half of the babies were give this probiotic and the other half were given a placebo (I think it’s kinda funny that they gave babies a placebo). Then the researchers followed up with the kids at the age of 3 wk, 3, 6, 12, 18, 24 mo, and 13 years and measured the probiotics in the stool.
17% of the kids who did not have the probiotic during their first 6 months of life were diagnosed with ADHD or Asperger Syndrome compared to none of the kids who were given the probiotic. Also they found that the kids who got the probiotic had higher concentrations of the healthy bacteria even when they were 13.
While there are many other factors this study does not address, which may lead to or prevent these diagnoses, some important things can be learned. Here are my takeaways from the study:
- A healthy intestinal tract is extremely important. Seriously, literally almost all health problems are connected to something that has gone wrong in the GI tract. Depression, Sinus problems, Fatigue, Brain fog, Autoimmune conditions, Skin problems and Joint pain are just some of the health problems that can result from a sick GI tract.
- Antibiotics should not be taken lightly. There was nothing in the study about the antibiotic intake by the children. However it would seem safe to say that anything which would decrease healthy gut microbes could increase the chances of ADHD and Asperger Syndrome. If a child must take an antibiotic, I recommend that probiotics be given to help restore the microbiome.
- Vaginal delivery and breastfeeding are best. A baby gets all of its probiotics from contact with mommy as baby passes through the birth canal, has skin to skin contact with her and feeds at the breast. We know that babies who are delivered vaginally and those who are breastfed have much healthier gut microbes compared to babies with are delivered C-Section and/or are bottle fed. Even breast milk given via bottle is not as good as milk straight from the mother. The baby gets probiotics from contact with the mom’s breast. So if a baby was delivered c-section or cannot be breastfed, I recommend supplementing Lactobacillus.
- What a baby is fed makes a huge difference for years. Even at age 13, the children who received the probiotics had a healthier probiotic supply.
- If you have a child with ADHD or Asperger Syndrome, look to the gut for help!
- Finally, an important lesson here is that most of our health problems start quietly years before we know there is anything wrong. If you’re waiting until you’re sick to work on being healthy, expect to be sick. My recommendation is to take intentional action to find out exactly how you’re doing when you’re feeling great. For example, a stool analysis is a great test to show whether the gut is healthy. If the analysis shows that something isn’t right, it can be fixed long before a health problem shows up.