Category Archives: Nutrition

Calcium and Your Kids: Are They Getting Enough? Probably Not.

Did you know that only ten percent of teenage girls in the USA get enough calcium? Even here in China, the average calcium intake is less than half the recommended amounts. Most infants now have no problems with their calcium, thanks to breast milk and formula. But the second, much more depressing point, is that calcium intake drops dramatically after the toddler years. Girls, especially teens, eat much less dairy than boys, putting them at enormous long term risk for osteoporosis and other disease from low calcium.

What about your teenage children — or what about yourself? Are you getting enough calcium in your diet? To answer this question, we first need to know how much calcium we need per day to stay healthy. According to the US National Institute of Health, children 1-3 years need 700 mg per day, 4-8 years need 1,000 mg, and 9-18 years need the most, at 1,300 mg, to help their rapidly growing bones. Most adults 19-50 years old need a bit less, at 1,000 mg.

I recommend that all parents do a bit of math and see how your kids are faring with calcium, especially your girls. If you’re not sure about the calcium levels in your food, you can use the wonderful online Nutrient Data Laboratory database from the USDA. The best choice for calcium remains dairy products. One cup of whole milk has 246 mg, while low-fat milk has a bit more at 264 mg. Yogurt has a similar amount, and cheese is another excellent choice, as one slice (30 g) of cheese may have 200 mg. If your child hates cow’s milk or is lactose intolerant,  at least try to encourage yogurt and cheese. You could also try low-fat or skim chocolate milk, which would be much better than no milk at all! Since breakfast is crucial for a child, a wonderful meal could include yogurt with fresh fruit or berries, plus a slice of cheese on toast.

While dairy is the world’s most common source of calcium, plenty of other foods also have calcium.  Kid-friendly healthy choices include calcium-fortified soy milk, orange juice, cereals and granola bars.One 8 ounce cup of fortified orange juice may have 300 mg of calcium. Other non-dairy sources include fortified rice milk, leafy green vegetables (except spinach), and fish such as salmon or sardines. As a last resort, a daily multivitamin may be reasonable for some.

Another helpful task is to completely eliminate all sodas. You don’t have control over your kids at the mall or a friend’s house, but you certainly can be a role model at home and never buy sodas. Ever. Really! I believe that soda is an extremely unhealthy choice at all ages. There’s also some data showing that soda drinkers have lower bone density, but it’s still controversial why that is. Most likely the soda is just replacing healthy calcium drinks such as milk. But there still remain a host of reasons never to drink soda, especially due to its risk of obesity and diabetes. I would much prefer any child drink a calcium fortified orange or apple juice instead of any soda.

What about your daily routine — how much calcium do you get?

 


This article first appeared in my monthly column in Beijingkids magazine. You can read all my previous Beijingkids articles here. It’s an abridged version of an earlier article about calcium

What’s Your Toddler’s Best Source of Milk?

What’s the best milk source for your baby after 12 months? Breast milk is still the preferred choices, and whole milk the next option — but many people in China prefer toddler formula. While milk safety in China is a legitimate concern, most pediatricians and nutritionists don’t feel this is the best choice. One way for confused parents to cut through all the hype and misinformation is just to ask their child’s doctor, “what would you use for your own kids?” It’s a great question: what will I give to my own Alex when he turns one year old? Honestly, I still am not sure what we will do, but here are my choices:

  • Local organic milk. There’s one popular certified organic brand of milk (and yogurt) which many Beijing expats and local people prefer. I can’t vouch 100% for its safety, of course, but I trust it as much as I trust anything here. Faint praise, I know, but everyone draws the line somewhere.
  • formula milk breast toddlerImported UHT milk. These are now widely available all over China and are the top choice for many. I personally don’t like their taste, and I have strong objections over their environmental impact due to the cost of shipping. Otherwise, they can be extremely inexpensive and also last for months on your shelf, so they are quite convenient.
  • Fortified soy milk. I vastly prefer soy milk’s taste to cow’s milk, and it’s very easy to make your own soy milk. Pure homemade soy milk doesn’t have as much calcium as cow’s milk, so your toddler would need to drink fortified soy. There are a few imported brands now sold in many parts of China, especially the hypermarkets. Don’t forget about other soy-based products such as tofu, also a good source of calcium.
  • Other milks? My local market’s shelves have many types of imported milks made from rice and almonds. Other people seem to like goat’s milk, including formula versions. Perhaps all these are possible alternatives, but I personally don’t have much experience with them and would rather stick with what most pediatricians recommend.

Milk is useful mostly for calcium and fats, but plenty of other healthy foods can offer these, including:

  • Yogurt and cheese. I prefer yogurt over milk for anyone at any age, not just because it’s easier to digest for most Asians. Yogurt also has loads of healthy bacteria called probiotics which an increasing number of studies are showing to be beneficial to overall health, including decreasing risks of obesity. It’s quite easy to make your own yogurt. Another excellent non-milk dairy alternative would be slices of cheese, which packs an enormous amount of calcium as well as protein, fat, cholesterol and iron.
  • Canned fatty fish. Salmon and sardines are rich in calcium as well as omega 3, which is essential for brain growth. Canned actually is better as you can munch on the bones!
  • Leafy greens. Broccoli, kale, and dark leafy greens are a good source of calcium. But bioavailability is key: spinach is rich in calcium but very little gets absorbed, so it’s not a great choice.
  • Calcium fortified foods. Many boxed orange juice has added calcium, which could especially help kids who hate milk and love their juice. Many cereals have added calcium.
  • Multivitamin. As a last resort, a children’s vitamin can provide the absolute basics of needed vitamins and minerals. It’s a perfectly reasonable option especially if your child is a super picky eater. For example, only 10% of teen girls get enough calcium!

The key of course is balance and variety — a rainbow of colorful choices!

 


This article was initially published in my monthly Beijingkids column. Click here for my Beijingkids archive.

Don’t Like Dairy But Need Your Calcium? Eat These

Did you know only 10% of teen girls in the USA get enough calcium? That’s an astonishingly depressing stat from the American Academy of Pediatric’s fascinating position paper on calcium (available here for free). Let’s show that graph right now:

calcium intake children

This graph clearly shows a couple points:

  • Most infants are doing great with their calcium, thanks to breast and formula milks.
  • The second, much more depressing point, is that calcium intake drops dramatically after the toddler years.
  • Girls, especially teens, drink much less dairy than boys, putting them at enormous long term risk for osteoporosis

I always knew that teen girls hated dairy mostly due to taste and fears of getting fat, but I never realized they were this much at risk of osteoporosis and other diseases. What about your teenage children — or what about yourself? Are you getting enough calcium in your diet? (Even here in China, the average calcium intake is less than half the recommended amounts.) To answer this question, we need some data. First, we need to know how much calcium we need per day to stay healthy. Here’s the data, from the US NIH review article on calcium:

 

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months 200 mg
Infants 7–12 months 260 mg
Children 1–3 years 700 mg
Children 4–8 years 1,000 mg
Children 9–13 years 1,300 mg
Teens 14–18 years 1,300 mg
Adults 19–50 years 1,000 mg
Adult men 51–70 years 1,000 mg
Adult women 51–70 years 1,200 mg
Adults 71 years and older 1,200 mg
Pregnant and breastfeeding teens 1,300 mg
Pregnant and breastfeeding adults 1,000 mg

 

What about your daily routine — how much calcium do you get? To find out, you can start with a list below, listing the calcium content of the most common foods. For all other foods, you can look at the nutrition label or use the wonderful online Nutrient Data Laboratory database from the USDA.  (For Chinese readers, you can find an excellent handout about calcium here from the Chinese Community Health Resource Center in San Francisco.)

 

Food Serving Size Calcium Content, mg No. of Servings to Equal Calcium Content in 1 Cup of Low-Fat Milk
Dairy foods
    Whole milk 1 cup (244 g) 246 1.0
    Low-fat (1%) milk 1 cup (244 g) 264
    Nonfat milk 1 cup (245 g) 223 1.2
    Yogurt, nonfat, fruit variety 6 oz (170 g) 258 1.0
    Frozen yogurt, vanilla, soft serve 1/2 cup (72 g) 103 2.6
    Cheese 1 1-oz slice (28 g) 202 1.3
    Cheese, pasteurized, processed 1 3/4-oz slice (21 g) 144 1.8
    Cheese, ricotta, part skim milk 1/2 cup (124 g) 337 0.7
Nondairy foods
    Salmon, sockeye canned, drained, with bones 3 oz (85 g) 203 1.3
    Tofu, firm, prepared with calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride 1/2 cup (126 g) 204 1.3
    White beans, cooked, boiled 1 cup (179 g) 161 1.6
    Broccoli, cooked 1 cup, chopped (156 g) 62 4.3
    Collards, cooked, boiled, drained 1 cup, chopped (190 g) 266 1.0
    Baked beans, canned 1 cup (253 g) 127 2.1
    Tomatoes, canned, stewed 1 cup (255 g) 87 3.0
Foods fortified with calcium
    Calcium-fortified orange juice 1 cup (240 mL) 300 0.9
    Selected fortified breakfast cereals 3/4–1 cup (30 g) 100 2.6
    Instant oatmeal, fortified, plain, prepared with water 1/2 cup (117 g) 65 4.1
    English muffin, plain, enriched, with calcium propionate 1 muffin (57 g) 99 2.7
    Calcium-fortified soy milka 1 cup (240 mL) 200–500 0.5–1.3
  • Source: US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service.

What If Your Child Isn’t Getting Enough?

I strongly advise all parents to do a bit of math and see how your kids are faring with calcium, especially your girls. Because as we mentioned, it’s overwhelmingly likely that they’re not getting enough, and it’s our job as parents to guide them with proper choices. One easy task is to completely eliminate all sodas. I know you don’t have control over your kids at the mall or a friend’s house, but you certainly can be a role model at home and never even buy sodas. Ever. Really! I’ve blogged about soda dangers, as it is by far the #1 most unhealthy choice in America now, at all ages. There’s actually some data showing soda drinkers have lower bone density, but it’s still controversial why that is. Most likely the soda is just replacing healthy calcium drinks such as milk. But there still remain a host of reasons never to drink soda, especially due to its risk of obesity and diabetes. I would much prefer any child drink a calcium fortified orange or apple juice instead of any soda.

The best choice for calcium remains milk, but let’s just assume you’ll never convince your 13 year old daughter of this (likely scenario!). The best other sources are the same for any age, as I previously discussed with toddler formulas:  yogurt and hard cheese, fortified soy or rice milk, leafy green vegetables, and canned salmon or sardines. As a last resort, a daily multivitamin may be reasonable for some. For further kid-specific advice, here’s some again from the AAP:

For kids who aren’t getting enough calcium, make use of calcium-fortified milk, orange juice, cereals and granola bars. Some of these products contain so much calcium that a single serving takes a youngster halfway to her recommended daily value.

Your teen isn’t a milk drinker? There are other ways to obtain calcium through the diet. “Many adolescents don’t like milk, especially girls,” says dietitian Mary Story. Try tempting your son or daughter with chocolate-flavored skim milk. You can also disguise milk by adding it to soups, puddings, baked products, sauces and stews. Alternatives to milk include cheese and yogurt. Eight ounces of yogurt and two ounces of cheese contains about the same amount of calcium as eight ounces of milk and therefore each would equal one serving. Half a cup of cottage cheese, however, is lower in the mineral and counts as half a serving.

Are Chinese Healthier Than Americans?

Temple Of Heaven

During these hot summer evenings, my wife and I love to bike around Beijing’s hutongs. On every street corner and in every park, generations of families, friends and neighbors dance en masse, sing along to a classic tune, and chat away while walking — often backwards. This happens every night in every season — in every town and city across all of China.  Every so often my wife will drag me into that happy group of dancers, my two left feet ruining her graceful moves, but we love the charm and warmth of it all. I already know that whenever I move from China and look back upon my many years here, these moments will stand out.
I mention all this because as an American expat straddling two cultures, I inevitably compare the strengths and weaknesses of each. Of course I confess a bias towards an American viewpoint. But I am perfectly comfortable saying that the average Chinese person is healthier than the average American. And I think Americans could learn a few health tips from China.

Perhaps my readers may find that laughable! But after seven years of observations, I truly feel that it is true. I say this especially since my trip last year back to the east coast of America. It’s no secret that obesity in America is a serious health problem, with the majority overweight and more than one third obese. But last fall I was viscerally struck to see this in person. I kept thinking of the Pixar movie WALL-E, where in the near future mankind becomes so obese that no one walks anymore, spending every hour comfortably in their self-driven hovercraft as robots feed, clothe and bathe them. That’s supposed to be hundreds of years in the future, but Pixar’s gloomy vision of future America certainly seems prescient.

Dancing health china america exerciseIn China, it’s still quite rare to see obese people on the streets. This is changing recently, especially among children as families spoil their little emperors. But in general it’s still not common to be overweight in China. Data from the WHO shows an obesity rate of 32% in the USA and only 6% in China, and an overweight rate of 25% in China but a mind-boggling 69% in the USA. Diet differences are a major factor, but another major reason is that people in China move around a lot more, getting their “exercise” just from everyday routines. Clearly the evening culture plays a major role in this healthy activity. It’s such an ingrained part of Chinese culture that there’s a famous old proverb 饭后百步走,活到九十九 (take a hundred steps after eating, live to be 99).

There’s simply nothing like this social nightlife in America, and it’s a wonderful cultural tradition which I deeply wish we had in America. Even in enlightened and active San Francisco, there may be a few people walking their pets or jogging after dinner, but otherwise our American sidewalks are mostly empty at night. It’s a real shame because such daily activity can dramatically decrease your risk for heart disease, the world’s number one killer. A large 2012 study involving over 400,000 people confirms again that even only 15 minutes a day or 90 minutes a week of moderate exercise can reduce your risk of death by 14% and increase life expectancy by three years. A routine 20 minute brisk walk after dinner automatically gets you to that recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. Just have your nightly walk plus a daily bike commute and you have no need for that gym membership or that treadmill machine you picked up at a yard sale years ago but never use!

Besides the clear differences in weight and daily activity, the average Chinese person has a much healthier concept of nutrition and wellness than the average American. Many Americans are famously healthy with their fruit smoothies, organic supermarkets and extreme workouts. But that percentage of super healthy Americans is easily outmatched by the much more numerous obese, inactive Americans eating large portions and fast food. There’s a great dichotomy of wellness in America! But in China, I’ve noticed that people both rich and poor, from the countryside and the cities have an equally extensive knowledge about which foods are good for each season, which foods help keep you healthy and which help when you’re sick. Chinese also eat many more vegetable dishes with each meal than in America.

Much of all this involves traditional Chinese medicine concepts of balance, yin and yang, and hot and cold. And while I am skeptical of many of the specific medical claims of TCM, certainly the underlying concept of balance is a very powerful philosophy to underline anyone’s approach not just to their diet choices but their entire life. This ingrained Chinese concept of balance regarding foods is far more successfully integrated into people’s mindsets than the American approach. Americans also use the word balance when discussing a balanced diet, but that discussion clearly has failed to be internalized in the culture. So we tried the food pyramid for a while and that didn’t resonate, and now it’s the “MyPlate” campaign. American magazines and bookshelves are filled with health fads and diets that come and go, while the obesity rate and diabetes cases continue to skyrocket. Clearly all this American chatter about health and wellness is completely failing. There is something fundamentally wrong with our current culture’s lifestyle and philosophy of wellness which is hurtling most citizens backwards.

But what about the sorry state of food safety in China, or the massively polluted air and water? How about how the US towers above China in life expectancy, as well as in the World Happiness Report? How can Chinese men be healthier when over half of them smoke? These are valid counterpoints, but I argue that these are short term problems. Thirty or forty years ago American men smoked just as much as Chinese men, but after public education campaigns the rate is now much lower (but still too high). Regarding happiness, the number one factor is income, and China’s average income is still a small fraction of the average American. And while the World Values Survey also noted more happiness in Americans, more Chinese felt their state of health was good. And with the environment, China is going through the same pattern of self destruction as every other industrialized Western country did — and there’s no reason not to assume it will clean up just as well, in time.

Let’s assume that in a couple decades these obvious environmental and social differences will be improved, along with economic parity. What will we see? Will we see China’s obesity rate also catch up to the west? I think not. Actually, I prefer to think not. I would like to be an idealist and say that even with economic parity, Chinese will still preserve their concepts of wellness and balance, still eat their vegetables even if surrounded by KFC and Starbucks. And I hope more than anything that both American and Chinese streets will be filled at night with singing and dancing.

Chinese Spring Festival Eve: As Unhealthy As Thanksgiving?

Next week’s Spring Festival will already be my sixth here in Beijing, and Spring Festival Eve is always one of the highlights of my year. My wife and I spend a wonderful evening with our Chinese in-laws, and all two dozen of us will gorge for hours on endless rounds of dumplings and snacks, drink all types of alcohol and juices, and happily shout at the TV screen as another awful performer lip syncs yet another tacky ballad.  Just before midnight we will all rush to the rooftop and spend the next hour in awe at the lightshow and sound spectacular coming from every corner of Beijing. It’s difficult to describe to people back in the US just how impressive Spring Festival is. It’s like a combination of American Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Fourth of July — only much, much more intense, and lingering for a couple weeks, fading away with one last blast on Lantern Festival.

Chinese New Year Spring FestivalOne of the major connections, unfortunately, between Chinese Spring Festival and the American holidays is the habit of ending these festive days slightly heavier and more unhealthy than when we started. So let’s continue another annual tradition: news media filled with warnings by nerdy doctors like myself lecturing their readers to not have any holiday fun. So I now shall try the difficult task of balancing health advice while not ruining your party. I could just say “everything in moderation!” and send you on your way to the supermarket, but I would like to make a couple points first. So please bear with me, and I’ll reward you with a cookie at the end. Or maybe just a sticker.

I think it’s important to step back a bit and make sure everyone realizes that the main killers and causes of disability across both China and the USA are cardiovascular disease, especially heart attacks and strokes. And for many reasons, the situation in China is more serious, according to the World Bank’s fascinating report from 2011 regarding the global burden of disease in China. They report that the average Chinese person can expect to live only 66 “healthy years” (years free from disease and disability), which is ten years less than in some leading G-20 countries. Strokes, in particular, have “the largest health and well-being impact on an individual.

I find these statistics alarming, but in my talks with my Chinese patients, most have no idea about this data. Nor do they know about the report’s other warnings that Chinese eat an astonishingly dangerous amount of salt every day, more than 12 grams on average, which is more than twice the recommended maximum amount. The World Bank calls excess salt, “by far, the most prevalent modifiable risk factor for non-communicable disease in China.” Too much salt is one of the major causes of high blood pressure and strokes, and lowering salt intake across China would probably be one of the quickest and most cost effective measures that public health groups could tackle. Most of this salt comes from processed foods such as instant noodles as well as the incredible variety of sauces in China.

How does all this tie in to Spring Festival Eve?  The great majority of us survive the holiday fun just fine, but what I mostly worry about are the well documented spikes in heart attacks and strokes after classically large meals such as American Thanksgiving and Chinese Spring Festival Eve. Emergency room doctors in both countries report spikes in patients during these holidays, for a multitude of illnesses mostly traced back to indulgence with food and drink. Many of these high salt foods are eaten in abundance during the Spring Festival revelries. A large dose of salt can easily raise your blood pressure and lead to strokes and heart attacks in those of us at most risk for heart disease. Also, this salt infusion makes all of us retain water, which inevitably leads a few people into congestive heart failure, heart attacks and strokes.

One of the great tragedies of these holiday parties is that all of us are trying to relax and have a great time with our families and loved ones, and the last thing we want to do is to ruin the party. Therefore, some people may actually be having a heart attack during the meal, and they will ignore the pain so as not to upset the others, trying to wait until after the party is over to get some help. Another group will feel the chest pain but mistake it for a stomach problem such as indigestion or heartburn, and they will show up the next day in the doctor’s office or the emergency room with “really bad heartburn” which actually is a half-day old heart attack.

So if you have to absorb just one party-pooping take-home message from me today, it’s this: if you feel pressure or pain around your left chest during the party, especially if this pain radiates into your jaw or left arm, please do not ignore it until the next day. I’m deadly serious: if you truly are having a heart attack, then you need to be having emergency treament at your local hospital within 90 minutes to three hours, otherwise your survival rate starts to drop dramatically. Time is crucial with heart attacks, and your heart’s muscles are being starved of oxygen and need treatment ASAP, otherwise the muscle tissue may die forever — and so may you. Trust me, your relatives would much rather have you ruin the party and stay alive than be the life of the party now but dead tomorrow.

OK, everyone, go have fun! Here, have some more Coke with your third plate of dumplings. Don’t worry, these ones are vegetarian.

Perhaps I should have stopped earlier when I told everyone the horrible cliche, “everything in moderation”, because that actually is the obvious answer to avoiding this above dilemma. Hopefully the people cooking the holiday foods can try to use healthier oils and lower salt sauces, especially soy sauce, which is probably the easiest to find. And maybe the host can put out their smallest kitchenware, since it’s been proven many times that people eat less and feel more full when they use smaller plates, bowls and cups.

Otherwise, the rest is up to each of us and our self control when faced with bounty. I’d like to add some tips from my family medicine colleage Dr Liang Lijun (梁立筠), who also has a masters degree in nutrition and public health:

On the day of a big evening gathering, wake up at a reasonable time, eat a satisfying breakfast, and exercise so that you are not so hungry by dinner time. If you really want to be health-conscious, survey the table, choose a colorful palette of foods to eat, and try to eat the healthier foods first. This way you leave less room for oily, rich foods that are sure to tip the bathroom scale. Also, be wary of drinks, which can contain a lot of hidden calories. Try to make sure you prepare some tea (flower tea is best) to drink, or choose wine over cocktails and beer. And, perhaps most importantly, eat slowly, pause often to enjoy the conversations flowing around you, and do your best to remove yourself from the table when you’re full.

I will be the first to admit that I’m terrible at self control, and it takes me weeks to work off the excess holiday weight — an increasingly losing battle. And if I added up my total calories from my usual Thanksgiving meal, I’d probably have a heart attack just from the sticker shock. But I hope some of these recommendations can help some of you to take action, ensuring that you continue to enjoy Spring Festival with your loved ones for many more years.

Can A Child Be Too Clean? Some Bacteria And Probiotics are Healthy

probiotics
probiotics

It usually feels like we live in a toxic world here in Beijing, bombarded daily from the air and what we eat and drink. But what about the other extreme of being too clean? In our zeal to protect our families from toxins and germs, could we be harming as much as helping? This is more than an academic issue, as scientists are starting to realize that not all germs are created equal. In other words, there are good germs and bad germs. There is mounting evidence that an infant needs certain exposures to some germs in the first few months of life, otherwise they potentially could develop some immune-system diseases such as hay fever, eczema and allergic reactions — even obesity as an adult. This is called the “hygiene hypothesis”.

For example, a fascinating study published this summer followed 400 families and demonstrated that newborns who had a dog in the house had more than 30% reduction in the common cold, ear infections and antibiotic use during their first year of life. The researchers hypothesize that early exposure to a dog’s multiple germs carried from the outside are beneficial boosters for a small baby’s growing immune system. Does this mean you should run out and buy a pet? Of course not — many kids are allergic to pet dander, especially. But this is not the first study to find such a connection, and it brings up interesting topics: would that same allergic child be less allergic if they were exposed to more germs in the first few months of life?

As another example, there is mounting evidence that babies born by caesarean-section have a higher risk of childhood asthma and hayfever, and a new study published this summer showed a doubled risk of obesity in toddlers who were born by c-section. The possible reason again fits with this concept of early exposure to germs: a baby delivered by c-section isn’t picking up mom’s vaginal bacteria and thus may not be triggering an important immune system response. Also, perhaps those bacteria are an essential “starter colony” for baby’s brand new stomach and intestines, and these good bacteria are key for keeping a child’s weight down.

This brings up an exciting area of research: probiotics. We all know about “anti-biotics” which kill the “bad” bacteria, but our bodies are filled with trillions of good bacteria which actually are essential to our daily lives. For example, everyone’s digestive tracts are mostly made of certain bacteria which are essential for breaking down our foods and having healthy bowel movements. Antibiotics, especially the strong ones, often wipe out these healthy bacteria — which is why many people develop diarrhea after antibiotics (many women also develop vaginal yeast infections).

The good news is that mounting evidence shows that taking probiotic supplements while taking antibiotics can greatly reduce this common side effect of antibiotic-related diarrhea. A Cochrane Library meta-analysis published last year showed an impressive 48% decrease in diarrhea when taking probiotics. There are many types of probiotics, but this study suggested that a high dose (over 5 million colony units a day) especially with Lactobacillus rhamnosus or Saccharomyces boulardii was most effective. I think this is was a very impressive study which certainly has led me to encourage more patients of all ages to take probiotics while on antibiotics.

Probiotics are also essential to help recover from any type of infectious diarrhea, as another Cochrane review from 2010 showed a quicker recovery when taking probiotic supplements. It’s becoming quite important to always have some probiotics as a staple item in your medicine cabinet!

 


(This article was originally printed in Beijing Kids magazine, where I am a contributing editor. You can click here to read the rest of my BeijingKids “The Doc Is In” columns.)