As a mum, like all other parents, I want the best for my child. In his early years, I’m always looking out for ways to support his growth and development. Ultimately, I hope that my child will grow up happy, strong, and healthy, in order to have a bright future and embrace life for all that it is. One way to achieve this, as I’ve recently discovered, is to ensure my child’s gut health. Gut health is important for many reasons, including digestion, improving immunity, and even, supporting brain development! Here’s what every parent needs to know about your child’s gut health.
What Child Gut Health is All About
Like most other mums, I’m aware that a healthy gut supports good digestion and reduces the risk of allergy, thus helping my child to feel comfortable. But I’ve recently learned that there’s so much more. Well, science has proven that the good bacteria that thrive in your child’s gut have superpowers! They even have a positive impact on your precious child’s growth and brain development!
Why A Healthy Gut is Important for Children
- Supports a Healthy Immune System
It’s always a nightmare for parents when their children fall sick. As children enjoy their outdoor playtime, they face a greater likelihood of exposure to disease-causing germs such as bacteria and viruses. So, they are exposed to and often, ingest these bugs. Hence, it’s especially important for children to have a strong and healthy immune system to ward off infections.
Did you know that 70% of your child’s immune system exists in the gut1? Your child’s gut wall is lined with an army of immune cells. These immune cells play an important role to defend against invading germs that cause common childhood illnesses. In a healthy gut environment, the good gut bacteria and immune cells work together as the first line of defence to protect your child.
- Reduces Risk of Allergies
The first two years of life represent a critical window within which you can train a child’s immune system to mount an appropriate defence to disease-causing germs and dietary antigens (aka bad stuff that triggers allergies). Successful navigation of these helps your child to develop a robust adaptive immune defence, building tolerance over time.
Within the gut, 2’-FL supports your child’s immune defence by binding pathogens, confining them within the gut, and eventually passing (pooing) them out of the system. 2’-FL also inhibits the body’s inflammatory response to antigens.
2’-FL and prebiotics (FOS and GOS) selectively support the growth of good gut bacteria. This process leads to the formation of unique by-products that are the preferred fuel for the cells that line the gut wall, thereby strengthening the gut wall. This reduces the chance for penetration of the gut wall by disease-causing germs and allergens, thereby protecting your child from common infections and reducing the risk for allergies.
That’s why having a healthy gut that hosts good gut bacteria is important for your child.
- Supports Brain Development
90% of a child’s brain develops by the age of 5, and the formation of brain connections is critical to early development. This impacts a child’s cognitive function, vision, language skills, and motor capabilities.
Proper nutrition is crucial for normal brain development. The gut has a central role to this process as it receives and absorbs all the needed nutrients for optimal and timely brain development.
In addition, the new news is that the good bacteria in a child’s gut also affects brain development and brain connections. How? Through the direct connection between the gut and the brain that is made up of a vast network of nerves, the most significant being the “vagus nerve”2. New research has shown that 2’-FL and the microbial metabolites formed when good gut bacteria feed on 2’-FL and prebiotics (FOS and GOS) impact brain development and speed up the formation of brain connections through a variety of mechanisms including the excitation of the vagus nerve. This has been shown to improve learning, memory, and mood.
So, remember, a happy gut feeds a happy brain!
Now that you know just how important your child’s gut health is, you’d want to know how you can better support it. Feeding your child with the right nutrients at the right time is an important step to ensuring a happy and healthy gut. Given that a significant amount of your child’s nutrition in the early years comes from milk, it is a good idea to select a formula that has the following features:
- 2’-FL and prebiotics: 2’-FL and prebiotics (FOS and GOS) promote the growth of bifidus bacteria (aka good bacteria that live in your child’s gut2). This in turn, helps support the development of a healthy digestive system and builds immune defence.
Additional, gut-friendly features to look for are:
- Partially hydrolysed proteins: These are proteins that are broken down into small pieces to reduce the allergenic potential of cow’s milk. Hypoallergenic milk formulas may help reduce the risk for allerh a family history of allergies. These unique proteins may also be easy to digest.
- Palm oil free fat blend: Milk formulas that do not contain palm oil in the fat blend have been scientifically shown to render stools soft and, improve the absorption of calcium, fat, and DHA.
- Low Foam: Formula milk that produces less foam may make digestion more comfortable for your child!
For more information, visit this website.
- Vighi, G et al. “Allergy, and the gastrointestinal system.” Clinical and experimental immunology vol. 153 Suppl 1,Suppl 1 (2008): 3-6. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03713.x
Similac Total Comfort 3
Similac Total Comfort is a winning milk formula option for toddlers due to its high-quality ingredients, easy-to-digest features, and hypo allergenicity. It is specially designed for toddlers with sensitive tummies and those who have a family history of allergy.
The ingredients of Similac Total Comfort are carefully selected by Abbott’s nutrition and food science experts to support your child’s growth and development. Similac Total Comfort is a gentle formula that uses partially hydrolyzed whey which are smaller milk proteins.
The formula also contains 2’-FL; & prebiotic FOS that supports the growth of good bifidus bacteria in your child’s gut. It also has a specially developed blend of IMMUNIFY® ingredients* that supports normal immunity.
Keep your child strong today! Similac is one of the most popular milk formula brands in the market. So, join the millions of moms who trust Similac** around the world! Redeem your free sample and discount vouchers off your first purchase here
*IMMUNIFY® ingredients (Vitamin A, B6, B12, C, D, Copper, Folic Acid, Iron, Selenium and Zinc) support normal functioning of your child’s immune system.
**Mums of babies over 6 months of age. Based on Abbott’s internal computation of Similac 2′-FL global usage, as of Jun 2021.