A Spoonful of Bacteria for Baby?

From the Show: Healthy Children
Summary: Do probiotics provide benefits for children? Or could they be potentially harmful?
Air Date: 3/5/14
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Wendy Sue Swanson, MD
Wendy Sue Swanson headshot high resDr. Wendy Sue Swanson is a board certified pediatrician, mother to two young boys and the author of the Seattle Children's Hospital Seattle Mama Doc Blog, the first pediatrician-authored blog for a major children's hospital.

Dr. Swanson is interested in the intersection of media and medicine and its impact on the physician-patient relationship. Her online presence through her blog and Twitter has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of parents who would have been beyond her reach without social media. Dr. Swanson works diligently to offer parents relevant, practical, and timely health information in accessible formats and she believes that a growing community of online physicians can empower parents and patients to make informed decisions based on science. Tackling issues from vaccines to potty training to work life balance, Dr. Swanson provides a voice of reason, not only as a pediatrician but also as a parent, helping parents gain clarity and eliminate fear when making decisions for their children. Her book, Mama Doc Medicine, published by The American Academy of Pediatrics, hit bookshelves in early 2014.

Dr. Swanson is the founder and executive director of Digital Health at Seattle Children's. She is also an executive committee member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media. She is also on the Board of Advisors for Parents magazine and is on the board for the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. She is a weekly medical contributor with NBC affiliate KING 5 News in Seattle and is a practicing pediatrician with The Everett Clinic. Dr. Swanson is an advocate on the topic of vaccines and was named a CDC Childhood Immunization Champion in 2012. She was named to TIME Magazine's Best Twitter Feeds of 2013.
A Spoonful of Bacteria for Baby?
Probiotics, the good bacteria that colonize in your gut, may help improve digestion, immune defense and even metabolism.

But are they beneficial -- or even safe -- for kids?

Probiotics are found in yogurt, yogurt drinks and fermented foods, but can also be taken via capsules and powders.

If you take probiotics yourself, you might not think twice about giving foods laced with these "good" bacteria to your youngsters.

But do probiotics really provide any benefits for children?

Seattle Mama Doc, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, helps you decide if giving probiotics to your kids is harmful or beneficial.
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