Reading time: 12 minutes
Article at a glance
- 1 Best Probiotics Supplements for Kids
- 2 What are probiotics?
- 3 Does my child need probiotics?
- 4 5 best probiotics for kids
Best Probiotics Supplements for Kids
Nobody likes to see their children ill or unwell. As unavoidable as this is, probiotics are a great way to minimize your child’s risk of catching germs from sick kids in their class or daycare.c
This informative article that talks about clinical studies showing probiotics are beneficial for kids, says that children who attend daycare will get 2-3 times more infections than those who don’t!
Being around so many children, it’s inevitable that there will be colds and flus and even more sinister illnesses going around, so give your child the best chance they can at skipping those sniffles by introducing probiotics into their life.
Probiotics are bacteria that reside in your large and small intestines. They help your body to efficiently absorb nutrients, aid in digestion and are essential for maintaining your gut’s health.
They also control around 70% of your body’s immune function and regulate some hormones, they’re pretty active little organisms!
Groups of beneficial bacteria, live microorganisms and yeast are known as “gut flora” and there are over 400 species of probiotics in the body with about 40 trillion good and bad bacteria.
It’s normal to have bad bacteria, but when you have too much your health will suffer – which is why you need a probiotic supplement to replenish the good bacteria and restore balance to your child’s gut.
The reason you’re hearing so much about probiotics lately, and the reason you’re probably reading this article, is because of the recent increasing popularity surrounding them.
Clinical studies on probiotics and their effects are time-consuming, expensive and extremely in-depth.
So results have been slow to surface, but there’s been an overwhelming amount of results to suggest probiotics really can help with a multitude of health issues. Some of these are:
- Irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease
- Antibiotic-related diarrhea
- Urinary and vaginal health
- Boosts immune preventing allergies and flus/colds
- Reduces eczema
- Reduces colic
The most natural way to get your probiotics is through foods such as:
But if you’re getting your probiotics from food, don’t forget to consume some prebiotics to give your probiotics the fuel they need to get all the way to your gut where they can go forth and multiply!
Prebiotics come from foods like onions, asparagus, garlic, bananas and more – everyday foods you probably already have at home to give your health an awesome boost.
When your baby is in the womb, their gastrointestinal tract actually doesn’t possess any kind of bacteria, it is developed when they’re born from bacteria transferred to them via the vaginal tract, their mother’s skin and breastfeeding.
If any of these events are impeded, the child’s balance of bacteria may not develop properly and can lead to them having poor immune function. If this occurs, it’s not the end of the world, probiotic supplements can assist with getting your child’s gut health back on track.
If you’re finding your child is suffering from viral infections such as diarrhoea, ear infections and respiratory tract infections you will be pleased to hear that probiotics have been found to reduce susceptibility of these in clinical trials.
Mothers who consume probiotics during their pregnancies have even been found to have children that are less likely to be ailed with allergies, eczema and hayfever.
- They’re always catching colds – More than 70% of your child’s immune system response is produced by cells in their gut, so the more good bacteria, the better they’ll be at fighting off colds, decreasing severity and longevity of sicknesses and recurrence of infections.
- They’ve been on a course of antibiotics – When your child is sick, antibiotics will alleviate their symptoms within a couple days, however, they can also impact the gut flora that prevent further illness, leaving them open to the germs of the world. Incorporate an antibiotic-resistant probiotic to replenish the good bacteria and keep your child strong.
- History of allergies in the family – Taking a probiotic supplement during pregnancy and giving them to your child after birth can help prevent the development of allergies. So if you know your child is at a high risk of being given the family allergies, probiotics will give them the best chance to avoid this genetic ailment.
- They were put on solids early – One of the main reasons breastfeeding is so great for your child is because it delivers good bacteria into your baby’s gut from the get-go. Unavoidable events may mean that breastfeeding is not a viable option so your baby needs to be put on solids early. This may reduce the existence of beneficial Bifidobacterium in their system, meaning that a probiotic supplement will be essential to developing that good gut balance.
If you’re not sure about whether a probiotic supplement would be beneficial for your little tike, a doctor will be able to assess them and give you some information on the next steps.
Once you’re sure you’d like to proceed, you’ll need to start looking for the best probiotic supplement specifically for children – which is a very important decision.
We’ve included some crucial information below that will tell you exactly what you need to get and why, along with some recommendations for the 5 best probiotics for kids.
Probiotics contain many strains, not all of which we need and many strains are helpful only for a few conditions so you need to know exactly what strains to look for to get the most out of your probiotic supplement.
To make it simple, we’ve listed the strains your child can benefit from and what they can do for them:
This strain of bacteria is the most common and most beneficial. Basically, it lives in your child’s small intestine and produces lactase which breaks down the sugar in milk (lactose). Lactic acid from foods fermented by probiotics, will help your child’s body to absorb iron, calcium and magnesium which are minerals that are very important for overall health.
Lactobacillus strains and what they can assist your child with:
- Acidophilus – Prevents and treats infectious diarrhoea
- Fermentum – Assists with eczema
- Rhamnosus – Helps with antibiotic-associated diarrhoea
- Reuteri – Assists with infant colic (reduced by around 50% in clinical studies), eczema/dermatitis, oral health and helps with antibiotic-associated diarrhoea
This is the second most important and beneficial probiotic strain. They prevent the growth of bad bacteria and boost the immune system greatly.
Bifidobacterium strains and what they can help with:
- Bifidum – One of the most prevalent and beneficial probiotic for children
- Infantis, Longum and Breve – The three strains that generally form the foundation of healthy gut bacteria in a child
- Pick what form of probiotic supplement is best – You’ve got 3 options; powder, tablets or chewable tablets. You know your child best so you’ll need to pick a form of probiotics that they will be able to easily ingest.
- Get an appropriate culture count – Children who are under two years old will need infant formulas of probiotics, but children aged over two years old can take and benefit from the same dosage of probiotics that adults do. You need to be looking for the colony forming units (CFU’s) and the more the merrier, generally anything containing 5 billion CFU”s or around this mark will be excellent for children.
- Check it’s got the correct strains – Use our guide above to determine which strains of probiotic you wish to purchase for your child that will assist with their specific health needs.
- Shelf life and refrigeration – Probiotic supplements can rapidly decrease in potency if they are not refrigerated so make sure they’ve been kept cold when you purchase them. Also take note of the expiry date and try to get the probiotics that’s expiry date is the furthest away.
- Read the label carefully – Make sure the probiotics you purchase do not contain fillers. You want to look for the ones with added vitamins and minerals to give your child the best possible health boost.
- Prebiotics – Prebiotics, like inulin, will fuel the bacteria so try to get a probiotic with this included. Probiotics only stay in the body for the day before they’re flushed out with normal bodily functions so you need them to be working at full capacity on their way through your child’s body.
- Daily dose – As mentioned above, probiotics don’t stay in your body so they need to be taken daily. To avoid any extra fuss, get a probiotic supplement that is a once per day dose instead of multiple doses.
It can be used from the age of 3 but be sure to consult your doctor as to the best way to introduce it into their diet.
We’ve included it in this list because of all the extra fruits and veggies included to give your kids that little extra boost with their probiotics.
- Blend of 23 organic fruits and vegetables
- Can be used in children 3 months and older
- Contains a prebiotic
- Vegetarian, gluten free, organic
- 5 billion CFU’s per serving
- Dosage will need to be staggered when first introducing into diet
- Powder requires more effort to give to children than capsule form
Children aged 4 to 12 years old can take one cranberry flavoured gummy a day to receive the benefits, this one will be great for fussy kids who don’t like swallowing capsules or powdered drinks.
- Once a day dose
- Cranberry flavour that kids will love with only one gram of sugar
- Can be stored at room temperature
- No allergens such as nuts, soy, dairy, gluten, etc.
- Contains prebiotics
- Cheaper option
- Only 500 million CFU’s per gummy
- Gummies can melt if bottle gets hot
These gummies are said to have a patented formula that can survive your child’s stomach acid 100x better than other brands, which is an excellent feature as lots of probiotics are usually culled on their journey through the body.
It’s got great assorted flavours that your child will enjoy and around 500 million CFU’s will be put into their bodies, a good little hit of daily probiotics.
- Help with digestive issues, bloating and diarrhea
- Can be given to kids over the age of 3
- Natural flavour/no artificial flavours
- Survives stomach acid 100x more than other brands
- Cheaper option
- Only 500 million CFU’s
Each dose only possesses about 3 million CFU’s but their patented technology claims to ensure the most amount of prebiotics (very important!) and probiotics survive the journey to your child’s gut with 15x more absorption than other capsules.
- For optimal digestion and immune health
- Pearl form, easy to swallow
- Slight orange taste
- Sugar free, no artificial flavours, no nuts or soy, lactose free
- Patented technology to ensure probiotics survive your child’s stomach acid
- Can be expensive
- Lower CFU count than most other top brands
This is your best powder option on the market, with an impressive 15 billion CFU’s and 8 different strains that all target the improvement of children’s health, it makes up for the amount of probiotic that don’t survive the journey through the body as efficiently as probiotic tablets would.
These sachets of flavourless powder are designed for children from 12 months to 4 years old and can be mixed into food or disguised in drinks.
- 15 billion CFU’s
- 8 strains
- Technology that claims to deliver probiotics to the body 15x more efficiently than capsules
- Brand also carries capsule forms of probiotics
- Gluten free and sugar free
- Non GMO
- No refrigeration required
- Should not be mixed into milk as it will curdle
- Cannot be mixed in cold or hot drinks as it harms the potency of the probiotics