Is the digestive system related to our immune system? The answer is yes, since our bacterial flora is our first line of defence. In fact, everything in our body is related and must be consistent. Or what is the same, homeostasis, that natural tendency of our organism to maintain the balance of its biological processes.
We talked with Dr. Farida Rafikova, a specialist in pediatrics and integrative medicine at the Francesc Macià Medical Center and a specialist in intestinal microbiota, to answer 6 basic questions about the intestinal health of the little ones.
They say that our bacterial flora is our first line of defence. If this is so, it should be a priority to take care of it and keep it in good condition, right?
Rather, our intestine is the first and most important organ of defences, it is our immunity, so protecting it and keeping it in good condition with intestinal flora is a priority and investment for our future health.
What are the most common reasons for consultation regarding digestive health according to your experience?
Patients who come to my private practice have problems with antibiotic therapy-resistant helicobacter pylori, and a disease such as misdiagnosed celiac disease, food intolerances and intestinal dysbiosis caused by antibiotics.
The intestine of children is not fully formed until the age of six years. What is the best way to take care of their intestinal health during this period?
Actually there are many factors that affect the foetus, since pregnancy. Factors such as breastfeeding, the use of antibiotics against bacterial infections during pregnancy, the type of delivery, food and the use of antibiotics during early childhood.
Keep in mind that the intestinal flora begins to develop during pregnancy, so the future mother’s health is very relevant.
Tell us about the use of probiotics. What exactly are they for? Do you usually use this type of supplement?
Today there are many probiotics, many strains and most have studies for intestinal colic, adjuvant therapy for the eradication of H. Pylori, intestinal dysbiosis, for infectious diarrhea, etc. Personally, as far as my practice is concerned, I use different strains of probiotics.
I understand that there are different types of probiotics, of animal and human origin, for example. What is the difference between them?
The difference between human and animal origin answers itself. Those of human origin are the native probiotics of our oldest microbial community, and are the ones I use in my daily practice.
What general advice do you give parents to keep their children’s intestines in good condition?
As I have commented in the previous questions, taking care and maintaining the intestinal balance begins with the decision to have a child, therefore it is necessary to plan a healthy pregnancy. And of course, the health of the future mother is a priority. It is important to maintain an adequate diet, make use of antibiotics only with a medical prescription and always in moderation and, finally, take probiotic supplements that help to strengthen the beneficial intestinal flora.