Natural Help for Infant Colic

December 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Childrens Health, Health

There is no doubt that coping with infant colic causes tremendous distress for parents who have to cope with a suffering baby in obvious pain and hours of daily screaming. There are many suggested ways of dealing with it, but a study in the September 2010 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, provides a simple remedy for these symptoms.

We know that probiotics are hugely helpful in helping adults with digestive problems and it seems that a probiotic, Lactobacillus reuteri has been shown to significantly relieve symptoms of colic when compared to placebo in a double-blind study and this also confirms the findings of a previous study that compared the effect of L reuteri to a frequently prescribed colic medicine, simethicone in 2007.

The researcher must have used earplugs because this study was conducted on 50 breastfed infants who cried for at least three hours per day at the beginning of the study. After giving them L reuteri in a dose of ten billion colony-forming units per day they had at least a 50 percent improvement in crying time – to say nothing of the stress on the parents who must have been almost crying themselves with relief. The treatment group also showed an increase in healthy lactobacilli in the stools and a decrease in E coli, a bacterium associated with colic. Even better, no side effects occurred as a result of the treatment.

Other natural Colic treatments:
Probiotics are a simple solution to treat colic in babies and when combined with other natural solutions can substantially reduce the distressing crying and pain. One very old –fashioned but highly effective method is to swaddle the baby by wrapping them tightly in a blanket – science has got in here too as they tested this in 2006 and found it reduced crying times significantly.

Diet too is important as by eliminating certain items from the diet of breastfeeding mothers it had the knock on effect of reducing crying – but no use if you are bottle feeding. Getting rid of common potential allergenic foods such as cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, soy, and fish also reduced crying in a trial in 2005.

As stress in the mother can be a factor in baby colic it makes sense to tackle that and maybe try out some soothing herbal teas. Ingredients to look for include chamomile, fennel, vervain, liquorice, and lemon balm.

If the colic does not respond to any of these then it may be time to consider other treatments found effective such as cranial osteopathy, which is very gentle, and both homeopathy and acupuncture have seen good results.

Forget yoghurt for probiotics – choose cheese instead

June 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Health


We know we need to have healthy flora in our intestine to keep our immune system working at its best and for optimum health. The modern solution is to take either a probiotic supplement or one of the many yoghurt or milk-based products you will find in the supermarket that have been enhanced with beneficial flora. These have their place, but food is known to have a buffering effect as both probiotic and lactic acid bacteria travel through the gastric juices in the stomach so real food gives a much higher survivability rate than supplements. Now however there is a new, natural and very tasty solution to getting the right amount of beneficial flora — particularly as we get older.

Scientists in Finland have discovered that aged cheese can help preserve and enhance the immune system of the elderly by acting as a carrier for probiotic bacteria. All you need to do is eat a daily helping of a probiotic cheese to help tackle the normal, age-related, changes in the immune system.

Dr Fandi Ibrahim from the University of Turku in Finland describes this age-related deterioration of the immune system as immunosenescene which means that the body is unable to kill tumour cells and reduces the immune response to vaccinations and infections.

Immunosenescene is also indicative of infectious diseases, chronic inflammation disorders and cancer and Dr Ibrahim’s team targeted the gastrointestinal tract, which is the main entry for bacteria cells into the body through food and drink and is also the site where 70% of vital immunoglobulin cells are created.

The volunteers all lived in the same care home and were aged between 72 and 103, which must say a lot for the standard of Finland’s care homes! All the participants were asked to eat one slice of either placebo or probiotic Gouda cheese with their breakfast for four weeks – which is not an uncommon breakfast food in that part of the world – and blood tests where then carried out.

They wanted to discover the effect of probiotic bacteria contained within the cheese on the immune system and the results revealed a clear enhancement of natural and acquired immunity. Or in other words, a much improved immune system and if you were wondering what makes a probiotic cheese it is simply one that is aged and made from raw milk or buy a fermentation process.

The longer cheese is aged for, the more probiotics and metabiotics (beneficial byproducts released as the probiotics digest their food) it will contain These cheeses will contain more of the lactic acid producing bacteria that the human body is designed to eat, but that doesn’t include mozzarella and ricotta as they do not normally contain probiotics due to being made by different methods or anything labelled “cheese spread” or “cheese product”. These have been heated to a temperature that kills the good bacteria so that all the good qualities of cheese are destroyed but the fat remains!

So stock up your cheese board with Cheddar, Emmental, naturally aged Gouda and any of the Swedish and Norwegian hard cheeses that you can find in your supermarket chiller cabinet. The tasty solution, and a healthy one, to keep your immune system strong and healthy.

Portable Probiotics for Travellers

April 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Health


Well the clocks have sprung forward and if you are thinking ahead to your holidays then these days, sadly, that means preparing yourself to cope with possible tummy upsets whether from food or your surroundings.

I am a big believer in probiotics for helping prepare your gut to deal with any problems and have tried many forms and packed pills, liquids and powders for that purpose. The main problem for travlleers is we want lightweight and portablilty in our remedies and Lifeplan have come up with Culture Care which should help you do that.

I recently had to have a course of antibiotics for a severe bacterial infection which made me face resemble that of a particularly pitiable adolescent. The redness I couild cope with but the itching drove me insane so I finally succumbed, but it’s an automatic reflex to take a probiotic with any antibiotic to help repopulate the gut with the beneficial flora that the drug wipes out.

When going on holiday, prepare your stomach similarly by taking Lifeplan Culture Care every day for two weeks before you go and that takes care of your health insurance at the gut level. If you then continue to take it for the two weeks of your holiday you will help maintain and protect the digestive tract from any upsets, such as holiday diarrhoea. Taking probiotics have been shown to cut the risk of contracting travellers’ diarrhoea by as much as 50% by eliminating unwanted bacteria from the body.

The main advantage to me though is the convenience as each pack of Culture Care contains 14 one-a-day sachets of dried powder, which are small and easy to pack and don’t need to be kept in the fridge. Add water to dissolve, or I prefer fruit juice as then I can ignore the fact it never seems to completely dissolve, and drink. Doesn’t have any discernible taste I could find and it is certainly convenient.

If you have any questions about probiotics or health-related questions then you can call Lifeplan’s nutritionists free of charge on 01455 556281. Culture Care is available from health stores or direct from their website at:

Probiotics strengthen immune system

Probiotics are living microorganisms, usually lactic acid bacteria, that help maintain the natural balance of the intestines especially after a period of taking antibiotics which can seriously disrupt that balance. Now it appears they can also help to strengthen the immune system and reduce the effect of allergies. A quick look in the chiller cabinet in the supermarket will show you that ‘probiotics’ are listed on the labels of products like drinks and yoghurts, though as these often contain sugar it might be better to take a plain acidopholus supplement or add in foods that contain probiotics such as plain, live, yoghurt and aged cheeses.