• By Deborah Balzer

Mayo Clinic Minute: Should you give your kids probiotics?

June 28, 2018

Probiotics. They are marketed as popular health supplements. Are they helpful, harmful or hype? Dr. Robert Jacobson, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician says when science says probiotics are good for you, researchers are often studying the natural probiotics that humans have in their bodies.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:59) is in the downloads. Read the script.

Your body is home to more than 100 trillion bacteria. Some are friendly bacteria known as probiotics.

“They’re the bacteria that live within us and help us fight off infections," says Dr. Jacobson.

The popularity of yogurt as a kids snack has skyrocketed. Dr. Jacobson says yogurt is a great dairy source, but no one should be eating it because it might contain a probiotic.

“Instead, eat a wide variety of healthy foods. Make sure that you’re aiming for five to nine fruits and vegetables a day.”

Dr. Jacobson says the concern is about testing for safety and effectiveness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate food products or supplements sold as probiotics.

“In this country, there are about 50,000 injuries reported by supplements, vitamins and minerals – all going unregulated, causing harm.”

So keep the yogurt for the taste and the dairy serving, as Dr. Jacobson reminds you, "There is no good proof that buying something labeled ‘probiotic’ will actually deliver probiotics or do any good.”

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