Products

A Dietitian Picks the Best Probiotics for Children

By Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD

Probiotics are a type of good bacteria that can greatly improve gut health. You can consume these living microorganisms in the form of fermented foods like yogurt or kimchi or in a dietary supplement. They can help restore balance in the gut and in turn, may help reduce inflammation and improve the overall health of your body and mind.

A daily probiotic supplement is not just healthy for adults but children can also benefit from good bacteria to help relieve digestive issues and support their health.

Best Overall Children’s Probiotic

Organic Liquid Probiotics by Mary Ruth’s

This liquid probiotic product is not only easy to administer to children with its tasteless formula, but it’s free of many common allergens. Not to mention that both adults and children can use this probiotic product to improve their gut health.

Summary of Organic Liquid Probiotics by Mary Ruth’s:
  • 100% USDA organic
  • 100% raw
  • Plant-based
  • 12 diverse probiotic strains including Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG that shows promise in improving children’s digestive health
  • Just 2 full drops per serving
  • Non-GMO
  • Vegan-, paleo- and ketogenic- friendly
  • Free of gluten, wheat, corn, soy and nuts
  • Safe for celiac and bariatric patients to use
  • No fillers
  • Shelf stable

Best Flavored Chewable Children’s Probiotic

Renew Life Kids Probiotic – Ultimate Flora Kids Probiotic Supplement 

This berry-flavored probiotic product contains a rich number of good bacteria and is formulated especially for children two years of age or older.  With its great taste and easy to take chewable tablet form, your children will be happy to receive their daily dose of gut healthy probiotics.

Summary of Renew Life Kids Probiotic:
  • 3 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) per tablet
  • 6 diverse strains of bacteria
  • Free of gluten, dairy, and soy
  • Can refrigerate, but you don’t have to
  • Sugar-free
  • Live cultures guaranteed
  • 90-day supply in one bottle

Most Convenient Children’s Probiotic

Culturelle Kids Daily Probiotic Packets Dietary Supplement

This handy children’s probiotic comes in a powdered form in single serve packets that can go wherever you go. You can mix these packets with any cold food (like yogurt) or drink (like juice) to make your child’s daily dose of probiotics easier.

Summary of Culturelle Kids Daily Probiotic:
  • #1 Pediatrician recommended brand
  • Contains 5 billion CFUs of the research-based effective probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
  • Free of gluten, dairy, lactose, yeast, soy, and milk
  • No added colors or preservatives
  • No need to refrigerate

Best Gummy Children’s Probiotic

Feel Great 365 USDA Organic Kids Probiotic Pectin Gummies

This certified USDA organic gummy probiotic product is fun and flavorful for children. It contains the 2.5 billion CFUs of the probiotic Bacillus subtilis DE111 that research shows is effective and safe.

Summary of Feel Great 365 USDA Organic Kids Probiotic:
  • Non-GMO
  • Vegan
  • Dairy-free
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Third-party tested
  • Produced in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility
  • Can return them for a full refund if you’re not 100% satisfied

What You Need to Know

Consider these following tips when choosing the right probiotic for your child: 

  • Choose the right strain: Make sure to do your research on different probiotic strains to find one that can help the certain condition your child has. It may help to talk with a gut health physician to determine the right strain.
  • Talk with your doctor: A physician with a specialty in gut health should be your first step before trying to solve your child’s digestive health issues with probiotics. Be wary of some people who may pose as digestive health experts but have no credentials to back that claim up. Medical doctors who specialize in the digestive system are your best resource for helping treat your child’s gut health issues and providing advice on probiotics.
  • Buy a trusted brand of probiotics: Since the FDA does not regulate probiotics, be sure to do your research before you buy them. Look for certain things on the label like third-party testing and National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) approval to ensure potency and purity of products.

Benefits

Certain strains of probiotics can reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and acute gastroenteritis in children. These strains include Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) and Saccharomyces boulardii.

Also, experts have reported that probiotics could help shorten symptoms of an ear infection or diarrhea as well as could help reduce constipation, acid reflux, and gas.

Probiotic use in children is considered generally safe, even when given in higher doses, however, it’s best to stick with the suggested dose on the product label.

Cons

Those children who have weakened immune systems, who are critically ill, or have short gut syndrome, should not use probiotics. Also, experts suggest that children with central venous catheter, impaired intestinal epithelial barrier, intake through jejunostomy tubes, and cardiac valvular disease should not consume probiotics.

It’s best to talk to your doctor first before giving your child probiotics to make sure it is safe for them to take. If giving your child a probiotic supplement is not an option, consider incorporating more fermented foods like yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut, or tempeh, so they can get more good bacteria through their diet.

Why Do Children Need Probiotics?

When a baby is born, they already have trillions of bacteria in their gut. And if they are born through the birth canal versus C-section, then they pick up even more microbes from the mother on their way into the world. Also, babies who are breastfed obtain prebiotics, or food for probiotics, from their mother’s breastmilk which helps the probiotics in their gut to flourish.

However, as a child grows and starts eating solid foods or takes antibiotics when they are sick, these factors can cause imbalance in the gut bacteria. Luckily, eating fermented foods or taking a daily probiotic supplement can help improve the balance of a child’s gut bacteria.

Medical experts report that children can benefit from probiotics in several ways such as those with severe cases of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or diarrhea especially when other treatments are not effective on their own. However, it’s important to note that probiotics should only be used as a secondary treatment and to never stop taking prescribed treatments for any health issue without a doctor’s approval. 

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