Does Your Child Need A “Probiotic” Sandbox?
There is clean, and there is too clean, especially when it comes to protecting the gut health of your kids.
Soaps and cleaning products formulated with antibacterial and antimicrobial chemicals often do more harm than good, triggering gut health imbalances that can leave your child vulnerable to very basic health challenges like obesity.
Thanks to the hygiene hypothesis, we recognize exposing young children to a wider array of microbes strengthens their developing immune systems.
When kids are concerned, it can be tough to maintain a balance between healthy and unhealthy exposure to microbes which led European researchers to test the benefits of a probiotic sandbox that recently appeared in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety.
A Gut-Healthy Sandbox?
Scientists conducted a small, double-blind study with the help of six daycare centers in southern Finland. Two sets of sandboxes were enhanced with a microbial-rich powder containing soil, leaf litter and moss, while the remaining sandboxes featured a typical mix of sand and peat material.
For the study, 26 children (ages 3-5) participated in supervised play for 20 minutes twice a day for two weeks while researchers tracked microbial changes in skin, stool and blood samples before and after the 14 days.
Not surprisingly, children exposed to the microbial-rich sandboxes had more diverse skin and gut microbiomes and changes in their blood that revealed greater concentrations of immune cells.
Stick With A Probiotic
These results sound encouraging, but are they really practical for children not supervised by scientists?
Sandboxes require lots of oversight by parents to ensure they stay clean, especially if their children are still wearing diapers. And, there’s the potential for contamination from bugs and other creepy crawlies too.
A sandbox mixed with beneficial microbes sounds like a good idea, but it will never replace the reliable gut health benefits your child receives from taking a probiotic formulated for his/her developing microbiome like EndoMune Junior Advanced.