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Probiotics for kids may help promote healthy gut bacteria. However, further research is needed to fully understand the benefits and risks of probiotic supplements for children.

A quick look at the 8 best probiotics 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.

Probiotics support the development and growth of healthy bacteria. Research has led to the American Gastroenterological Association recommending probiotics to prevent and treat several medical conditions.

Some studies suggest probiotics may:

However, caregivers should know that most studies show a very small benefit, and many show no benefit. Research on probiotic supplements for children is lacking, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate probiotics as they do pharmaceuticals.

Learn more about the health benefits of probiotics here.

Probiotics are measured in colony-forming units (CFU). The CFU shows how many viable bacteria are in each dose.

If a product label says it contains 1×109 CFU, there are 1 billion live bacteria per dose. Most supplements provide up to 10 billion CFU per dose, but some contain more.

Medical News Today chooses vitamins, minerals, and supplements that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe and high quality ingredients that are clearly labeled. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: MNT chooses products that must clearly state the supplement dosage.
  • Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a safe dosage.
  • Third-party testing: MNT chooses products that must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available certificate of analysis: MNT chooses companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) after receiving its third-party lab results.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best chewable probiotic: Culturelle Kids Purely Probiotics Chewables

  • Price (RRP): around $22.99
  • Quantity: 30 chewable tablets
  • Dosage: one tablet daily, or two to treat digestive problems
  • Suitable for: children ages 3–12 years

Culturelle probiotics contain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.

The company claims this probiotic:

  • helps boosts digestive health
  • helps manage diarrhea
  • supports the immune system

These chewable probiotics are sweetened with xylitol and contain no added sugar. They are free from nuts, soy, gluten, dairy, and lactose.

The probiotics contain 5 billion CFU. Culturelle guarantees that the stated number of CFU on the box is viable through the product’s expiration date.

The manufacturer recommends storing in a cool, dry place.

Pros:

  • reviewers consistently praise the berry flavor
  • no refrigeration needed

Cons:

  • one reviewer said their child did not like the taste
  • same reviewer also found the product expensive

Best organic probiotic: Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Probiotics Organic Kids+

  • Price (RRP): around $25.99
  • Quantity: 30 chewable tablets
  • Dosage: one tablet daily
  • Suitable for: children ages 4 and up

This probiotic has 14 different probiotic strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium lactis. It also includes 5 billion CFU.

It also contains vitamin D and organic amla, which offers a dose of vitamin C. It contains no added sugar.

Garden of Life states that this probiotic is USDA certified organic and free from:

These probiotics are available in three flavors: berry cherry, strawberry banana, and watermelon.

Garden of Life guarantees the CFU through the end of the product’s Best Use date when stored properly.

Pros:

  • natural probiotic option free from many allergens and contaminants
  • flavor options available

Cons:

  • higher cost than other options
  • may not be suitable for toddlers or very young children

Best probiotic gummies: Renew Life Kids Probiotics

  • Price (RRP): around $24.99
  • Quantity: 60 gummies
  • Dosage: two gummies daily
  • Suitable for: children ages 3 and up

Renew Life claims this product supports digestive and immune health and may help manage occasional tummy problems.

The gummies contain B. coagulans and 3 billion CFU.

The flavor is pineapple, orange, and raspberry. The gummies are gluten, soy, and dairy free.

Renew Life recommends refrigeration, but notes that it is not essential. The company guarantees potency through expiration.

Pros:

  • easy for children to eat
  • suitable for young children

Cons:

  • contains less CFU than other brands
  • only contains one strain of probiotic

Best vegan probiotic: up4 Kids Probiotic Gummies

  • Price (RRP): around $12.49
  • Quantity: 30 gummies
  • Dosage: one gummy daily
  • Suitable for: children ages 3 and up

These berry-flavored probiotic gummies contain a blend of Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus coagulans with a total of 1 billion CFU.

They also contain vitamin C, which helps support the immune system, and the prebiotic inulin, which may benefit digestive health.

These gummies are suitable for vegans and free from gluten, dairy, soy, artificial flavors, artificial preservatives, and GMOs.

Pros:

  • suitable for vegans
  • contains both probiotics and a prebiotics
  • manufacturer guarantee potency through the expiration date

Cons:

  • low CFU in comparison to other probiotics for kids
  • fewer probiotic strains than other options

Best liquid probiotic: Florastor Kids Daily Probiotic Supplement

  • Price (RRP): around $19.99
  • Quantity: 20 sachets
  • Dosage: one sachet two times daily
  • Suitable for: children ages 2 months and up

This probiotic is available in the form of individual sachets of powder. A person adds this to liquid where it dissolves so that a child can drink the mixture easily.

It contains Saccharomyces boulardii, but Florastor does not state the CFU.

It is suitable for vegetarians and free from GMOs and gluten. It contains fructose, lactose, and artificial flavors, and may contain traces of soy.

The flavor is tutti-frutti. The sachets do not require refrigeration and have a 3-year shelf life.

Pros:

  • suitable for very young infants
  • suitable for use with many common antibiotics

Cons:

  • cannot take with antifungal medication
  • cannot mix with carbonated or hot beverages
  • CFU not stated

Best probiotic yogurt: Dannon Activia Yogurt

  • Price (RRP): around $3.99
  • Quantity: 4 pots
  • Dosage: one pot daily
  • Suitable for: children ages 1 year and up

These yogurts contain L. bulgaricus, L. lactis, S. and thermophilus probiotics alongside vitamin D3 and calcium.

The yogurts contain no artificial sugars or flavoring. They are available in multiple flavors, including strawberry, mango, blueberry, and vanilla.

Pros:

  • multiple flavor options
  • easy to eat
  • kosher-friendly

Cons:

  • contains 8 grams of added sugar per cup
  • contains 5% saturated fat
  • CFU not stated

Best on-the-go probiotic: Stonyfield Organic Kids Yogurt

  • Price (RRP): around $6.79
  • Quantity: 4 pouches
  • Dosage: one pouch daily
  • Suitable for: children ages 1 year and up

This yogurt contains S. thermophilus, L.bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, Bifidus, L. paracasei, and L. rhamnosus, some of which may help support the immune and digestive systems.

The pouch format makes this a travel-friendly option suitable for lunchboxes and picnics. The yogurt is drinkable.

Stonyfield states that this yogurt has USDA organic certification and is kosher. It is free from gluten, fructose, corn syrup, artificial flavors, and sweeteners.

Pros:

  • comes in a portable, single-serving, drinkable formula
  • available in a range of flavors

Cons:

  • higher cost than other options
  • each serving contains 4 g of added sugar; some reviewers wish the sugar content was lower
  • CFU not stated

Best probiotic melts: Renzo’s Yummy Tummy Probiotic

  • Price (RRP): around $21.99
  • Quantity: 60 tabs
  • Dosage: one tab daily from 2–3 years, two tabs daily from 4 years and up
  • Suitable for: Children ages 2 years and up

This probiotic contains four bacteria strains: Bacillus subtilis, Bifidobacterium longum, Bacillus coagulans, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus. It also contains added magnesium.

These tablets are designed to melt in the mouth without the need for chewing or liquid. However, they are safe to chew and will dissolve in liquid.

The tablets are vegan and free from gluten, GMOs, sugar, artificial flavors, and artificial colors.

Pros:

  • suitable for vegans
  • lower cost than other options
  • may suit picky eaters or children who do not want to chew or drink probiotics

Cons:

  • only guarantees stated number of CFU is viable at the date of manufacture, not through the expiration date

The following table compares the products in this article on key features:

Price (RRP)QuantityFormDosageCFUAges suitable for
Culturellearound $22.9930chewables1–2 daily5 billion3–12 years
Garden of Lifearound $25.9930chewables1 daily5 billion4 years and up
Renew Lifearound $24.9960gummies2 daily3 billion3 years and up
up4around $12.4930gummies1 daily1 billion3 years and up
Florastoraround $19.9920liquid1 sachet twice dailyN/A2 months and up
Dannon Activiaaround $3.994yogurt1 dailyN/A1 year and up
Stonyfieldaround $6.794yogurt1 dailyN/A1 year and up
Renzo’saround $21.9960melty tabs1 tablet daily3 billion2 years and up

Before choosing any probiotic, people should speak with a pediatrician. In some cases, a pediatrician may recommend the use of probiotics, although in other cases, they may advise against it.

They may instead recommend getting probiotics from the diet or taking no action to boost probiotics.

If a pediatrician suggests taking probiotics, they may recommend a specific product that contains one or more specific strains.

Probiotics for children are available in the following forms:

  • Gummies: Chewable probiotics are easy for children 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 ensure that children know never to take them without an adult’s permission.
  • Liquid: Liquid probiotics or dissolvable powders are an alternative for children unwilling to take any new medication. A caregiver can mix this type of probiotics into water, yogurt, or juice.
  • Yogurt: These probiotics may work well for children who dislike taking probiotics as supplements.
  • Melts: Probiotic melts quickly dissolve in the mouth, making them suitable for children who cannot easily chew gummies or dislike the taste of tablets.
  • Tablets: Probiotic tablets may be difficult for some children to swallow but may suit people concerned about consistent dosage.

People should consider a safe and easy option for their child to take and discuss this with a pediatrician.

Experts recommend choosing products that contain 1×106 CFU (1 million) or more per dose. Any less and the digestive process will kill the bacteria, which means they cannot benefit the body.

Storage time and temperature changes can affect the CFU levels. People should check that the manufacturer guarantees the CFU levels until the use-by date and take care to follow any storage instructions.

Probiotics are unlikely to harm children, but there is not enough evidence to show that giving probiotics to infants is safe or beneficial. For this reason, some experts caution against giving probiotics to young children.

Caregivers should talk with a pediatrician about the risks and benefits before giving probiotics to a child.

Learn about the possible side effects and risks of probiotics here.

Probiotics are not multivitamins. Instead, each contains a specific strain or a group of different bacteria. Popular probiotic species include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These are the dominant strains present in the human intestinal tract.

People can incorporate probiotics into a child’s diet using foods that naturally contain probiotics.

Examples of food and drinks containing probiotics include:

  • yogurt
  • kimchi
  • kefir
  • tempeh
  • some aged cheeses, such as cheddar or mozzarella
  • miso
  • sauerkraut

Learn about the best dietary sources of probiotics here.

Anyone considering probiotics to treat health concerns in a child should speak to a pediatrician first. They may recommend alternatives that are safer and more effective.

People concerned about a child’s health should speak to a pediatrician before attempting to treat conditions with probiotics.

While probiotics may offer some health benefits for some people, they may not be suitable for all children or all medical concerns.

For example, if a person is hoping to treat digestive issues, probiotics may not necessarily improve symptoms and may sometimes worsen them.

A person should always speak with a pediatrician before attempting to treat health concerns in a child with supplements such as probiotics.

The following are common questions and answers about probiotics for kids.

What are some good kids’ probiotics?

People choosing a probiotic for their child should consider easy-to-eat options such as gummies, yogurts, or melts. They should also look for products with at least 1 billion CFU and clear labeling of ingredients, dosage, and use instructions.

Some good children’s probiotic brands include Culturelle, Garden of Life, Renew Life, and up4.

Should my child take a probiotic?

Probiotic supplements may offer health benefits for some children, such as easing constipation or diarrhea. However, not all children will respond positively to probiotics. Some may experience side effects.

A person should speak with a pediatrician before giving a child probiotic supplements.

Do kids’ probiotic gummies work?

No studies prove the effectiveness of probiotic gummies over other forms of probiotic supplements for children.

Children’s probiotics may benefit if taken consistently and at a high enough dose (1 billion CFU or higher). Many kids’ probiotic gummies are easy for children to take and have a high dosage of CFU.

This may make probiotic gummies for kids more effective than other forms. For example, children may dislike taking probiotic tablets and not take them consistently. Some other forms, such as yogurts, rarely state the exact CFU.

Probiotics are likely safe for children, although there is not enough evidence to prove they are beneficial in most cases.

If people give their children probiotics, there are some points to bear in mind.

  • Children’s needs and tastes vary, so caregivers should be ready to experiment to find the one the child likes best.
  • People should not give probiotics to infants without the supervision of a physician.
  • Before giving probiotics to a child, ask a doctor for their recommendations, including whether a probiotic supplement is appropriate and which type of bacteria is most likely to be beneficial.
  • People should always consult a doctor before giving a child any drug, including a supplement.

Probiotics may be helpful in certain situations, but people should never use them as a replacement for medication. Also, children should not take probiotics unless a pediatrician says it is safe and appropriate for them.