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The best probiotics for kids may help promote the development of healthy gut bacteria. However, further research is needed to fully understand the benefits and risks of probiotic supplements for children.
Trillions of bacteria live on the skin and in the body, especially in the gut. These bacteria play an important role in everything from digestion to fighting illness. Probiotic supplements claim to help restore healthy bacteria, potentially improving health.
Research on probiotic supplements for children is lacking, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not regulate probiotics as medicine.
Caregivers should talk to a pediatrician about both the risks and benefits of giving probiotics to a child.
Probiotics support the development and growth of healthy bacteria. Research has led to the American Gastroenterological Association recommending probiotics for the prevention and treatment of several medical conditions.
Some studies suggest probiotics may:
- reduce the risk of certain types of diarrhea, including from antibiotics and
Clostridium difficile infection
- reduce the risk of colic
- improve dental health
- reduce the risk of allergies
However, caregivers should know that most studies show a very small benefit, and many show no benefit at all. Further research is necessary into the benefits of probiotics for children.
Probiotics are unlikely to harm children. However, the safety of probiotics in very young babies is questionable, and they may even be harmful to preterm infants.
Probiotics are not multivitamins. Instead, each contains a specific strain of bacteria or a group of different bacteria. The most popular include Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, which may aid in digestion.
Before choosing any probiotic, it is advisable to research the bacteria it contains and seek guidance from a pediatrician. In some cases, a pediatrician may recommend the use of probiotics, although in other cases, they may advise against it.
It is possible to get probiotics from the diet.
The following probiotics are suitable for children.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
Chewable probiotics are easy for kids to eat, and some may even view them as candy or a treat. Because of this, it is important to keep chewable probiotics out of reach and make sure that kids know never to take them without an adult’s permission.
Culturelle Kids Chewable Daily Probiotic
Culturelle’s probiotics are nut, soy, gluten, dairy, and lactose free. They contain the sweetener xylitol.
The company claim this probiotic targets generalized stomach issues, such as diarrhea, irritable bowels, and antibiotic-related diarrhea. There is
Reviewers consistently point out that it tastes good.
It is important to note that this probiotic is not safe for children under the age of 3.
Garden of Life Organic Kids+
The company claim this product contains no pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones.
This probiotic is free of dairy, soy, and gluten and contains no added sugar.
Dissolvable probiotics are an alternative for kids unwilling to take any new medication. A caregiver can mix this type of probiotics into water, yogurt, or juice.
Florastor Kids contains Saccharomyces boulardii, as well as a small amount of lactose. S. boulardii promotes digestive enzyme production, which in turn may help with the digestion of lactose.
Long-term use of this probiotic does not have any known side effects. However, people should not take it alongside antifungal medication.
This probiotic is gluten free, vegetarian, and non-GMO. It may contain traces of soy. Additionally, it is safe for children who have lactose intolerance.
These probiotics may work well for kids who have trouble with traditional probiotics.
Dannon Activia Yogurt
Probiotics come in many forms. Yogurts are easy to eat and often contain probiotics.
In addition to several different bacteria strains, this yogurt also contains protein.
Stonyfield Organic Kids Yogurt
Like Activia, Stonyfield Organic Kids Yogurt is rich in probiotics — specifically Lactobacillus acidophilus, which
Kids may like the single-serving, drinkable formula and child-friendly flavors, such as cherry and blueberry.
This yogurt is kosher certified and gluten free.
Probiotic melts quickly dissolve in the mouth, making them suitable for kids who cannot easily chew gummies or who do not like the taste of tablets.
Some options include:
up4 Kids Cubes Probiotic Supplement
This vanilla-flavored probiotic contains a blend of L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium for a total of 1 billion colony-forming units (CFU).
It also contains vitamin D, which
Sugar-free, this probiotic also contains no artificial preservatives, gluten, or soy.
Renzo’s Yummy Tummy Probiotic
This product offers 3 billion CFU of four bacteria strains: Bacillus subtilis, Bifidobacterium longum, Bacillus coagulans, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
The tabs are lightly flavored and melt quickly, making them a good choice for kids who dislike chewables.
These probiotics are vegan, non-GMO, and sugar and gluten free.
There is no evidence of probiotics being beneficial for most conditions. However, there are few known risks.
Caregivers should not give probiotics to very young or premature babies without the supervision of a physician.
No two children have identical needs, so caregivers should experiment with probiotics to find the ones their child likes best.
A knowledgeable pediatrician can help choose the specific types of bacteria most likely to improve an individual child’s health.
Caregivers should always consult a doctor before giving their child any drug, including a supplement.