5 Best Probiotics for Kids (Our Review for 2018)
We all want to keep our children healthy, and the health benefits of probiotics are simply undeniable. It's easy to understand why one would want to do some research before choosing the best probiotic for their kids, and you have come to the right place to do that.
Choosing the best probiotics for kids is a good step to ensure your children’s digestive health. In addition to including probiotic-rich food in kids’ diets, probiotic supplements help prevent diarrhea, respiratory infection, and even tooth decay in children.
It’s important to remember, however, that probiotics must not be given to seriously ill or immunocompromised kids. As always, it is best to talk to your doctor before you start your child on any type of supplement.
Here, we will look at five of the best probiotics for kids on the market today that can help improve their gut health. Three of the products reviewed are in chewable form, which is perfect for kids who have trouble swallowing capsules.
Don't have time to read the entire review?
If you're a busy person who doesn't have time to read this entire review, don’t worry—we've simplified everything. Here is a table that provides you with a quick rating of our favorite probiotics for kids.
Looking for the best probiotic products for men and women? Check out our reviews:
Information on Probiotics for Kids: Things to Consider When Choosing a Probiotic
Probiotic Foods, or Capsules and Powders?
Foods like pickles, yogurt, and kim chi naturally contain probiotics, and are great if you can get your kids to eat them. But sometimes the levels of healthy bacteria are too low to provide your child with a distinct clinical benefit.
Also, depending on the environment in which the food was stored, it may not contain enough bacteria to even make a noticeable difference. While it is great to include a variety of fermented foods in your child's diet, it is likely not enough to benefit their health in the significant way that a probiotic supplement will.
Probiotics for kids are available in liquid or powder form, as well as chewable tablets and regular capsules. All of these options are perfectly fine, as long as you pick one that contains the strain of bacteria you are looking for in the correct amount.
Formulation and Packaging
Some probiotics are available in gummy or chewable forms, which is great for kids. Flavors are sometimes added to make the probiotics sweet to encourage children to take them on a regular basis.
Try to look for a product that does not need to be refrigerated. When products that are not shelf-stable come to room temperature, the microorganisms inside them die. Also, it is impossible to be sure that an adequate temperature has been maintained during handling time if you purchase a probiotic supplement online.
Look for the Specific Strain of Probiotic and the Expiration Date
It is incredibly important to read labels when you are shopping for medicine or prepackaged food, and it is equally as important to do so when shopping for probiotics. A critical part of choosing a probiotic is to find out which strain of bacteria is included in the supplement.
Probiotic supplements all include their own combination of organisms. If you see a product that does not clearly label which strains are included in their probiotic, avoid purchasing it.
Two of the most common forms of pediatric probiotics you will find are Bifidum and Lactobacillus. Being aware of the strains is an important part of the buying process because different strains work differently for certain ailments and health conditions.
Finally, make sure to locate the expiration date. Because probiotics are living organisms, they are perishable. Once a probiotic is past its expiration date, the bacteria are no longer viable and will not be effective.
Once you find the number of colony-forming units (CFUs) in each serving, you will be able to determine the probiotic’s potency. The dosage for your child will change depending on which strain of bacteria he or she is taking. This is another reason to make sure to check with your doctor before buying a probiotic supplement for your child.
Common Questions About Probiotics for Kids
Why does my child need a probiotic?
Ideally, our children's natural gut flora would be balanced and healthy. But that is not usually the case. There are many reasons that a child's gut bacteria could become imbalanced, including environmental factors, a high-sugar or low-fiber diet, or certain health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.
If your child gets sick and has to take a course of antibiotics, this could wipe out the flora that lives in their gut almost completely.
When this happens, it can cause an additional illness. But probiotic supplements can help get your child's gut back to normal. With a mixture of strains of live bacteria, probiotics will take up residence in your child's gastrointestinal system, just like its natural inhabitants.
Will my child have any side effects?
Your child may experience mild side effects when starting probiotics, including bloating, flatulence, constipation, or diarrhea. This will only continue for the first few days of probiotic therapy.
These symptoms may occur as the digestive system is rebalancing to favor the good bacteria that is in the supplements. After a few days, the symptoms will fade. If they are bothersome, reduce your child's dosage and increase it back up gradually.
Do all probiotic supplements contain milk?
Many probiotic supplements do contain milk, as they are grown on milk-based mediums. Those that contain Lactobacillus bacteria are most likely to contain milk because this type of bacteria thrives best in a dairy medium. But there are some probiotic supplements that are dairy-free.
Keeping all of this in mind, let's look at the top supplements that are on the market today.
5 Best Probiotics for Kids (Our Review for 2018)
If you have a hard time giving your child his or her supplements, this is a great choice for a probiotic. It only requires the consumption of one chewable tablet each day, and it contains 10 probiotic strains and 2.5 billion CFUs. This is a great option for children who are age four and over.
The combination of probiotic bacterial strains in this supplement is designed to support gastrointestinal health and boost the immune system. It will also help your children increase the absorption of the nutrients that they eat. This product even includes FOS, which assists in the healthy growth of acidophilus and bifidus organisms.
Even though it is a chewable instead of the more-popular gummy option, it has a great sweetened berry flavor that your child will love. It’s sweetened with xylitol rather than sugar, so it won’t hurt your child’s teeth, either.
This probiotic contains seven strains of bacteria and has 11.5 billion CFUs per serving, which is two veggie caps.
One of its strains, Bacillus subtilis, has been around since the early 1900s, which is before antibiotics were even on the market. It was used as an immunostimulatory agent to help clear urinary tract infections and treat gastrointestinal diseases.
It also includes Lactobacillus rhamnosus, which has been thoroughly researched and shows a wide range of potential benefits, such as a reduced allergic reaction to peanuts, diarrhea prevention, and minimizing the duration of respiratory tract infections, which are often passed around elementary schools.
This product does not directly contain any common allergens, and comes in a veggie capsule. But it is produced in a facility where it is possibly exposed to allergens such as wheat, soy, milk, and nuts.
If your child doesn't like taking pills, these Probiolicious gummies are a great option. Children ages 4-12 need to take only one gummy each day, and children who are 12 and over can take two. This probiotic is gluten-free, lactose-free, and does not contain any artificial sweeteners. Two gummies contain one billion CFUs of Bio-Active Probiotic Defense, which is a multi-function probiotic that guarantees the survival of the bacteria through stomach acid and into the intestinal system.
This product also contains prebiotics from inulin and fructooligosaccharides, which help restore healthy digestion. Prebiotics are a food source for probiotics, which makes the probiotic bacteria grow stronger and faster once it is in the gastrointestinal system. With a great taste and a gluten-free formula, these are a perfect chewable option for kids.
These naturally flavored, easy-to-take gummies can be taken by children and adults. They add great flavor and live cultures to you and your child’s daily routine. This supplement targets specific digestive health issues, such as diarrhea, bloating, and minor stomach pains.
The bacteria contained in this product has a natural protective protein shell surrounding each cell that allows the product to live through the harsh acids in the stomach and reach the lower gastrointestinal tract alive. This will help your child absorb nutrients better.
This probiotic can provide relief from bloating and abdominal pain within two weeks. The bacteria contained in the gummies can work together to help your child maintain a healthy digestive tract balance.
This product contains three strains of Lactobacillus bacteria, two strains of Bifidobacterium, and one strain of B. coagulans. The B. coagulans bacteria strain works very similarly to Lactobacillus, but it produces spores that make it easy for the body to absorb, while Lactobacillus does not. Each dose contains a minimum of three billion CFUs.
One of the best things about this probiotic is its ability to relieve constipation while still being gentle. Laxatives can make children have loose bowels, but this product allows children to live normally and confidently without having to rush to the potty.
The child-friendly formula of this probiotic is great for reducing occasional abdominal pain and digestive issues. It also provides immune support to help prevent your child from getting sick. It is beneficial for those who are prone to catching a cold or the flu because they will get sick less often and they can recover faster if they do get sick. The capsules are recommended for children two and older.
The clear winner of this roundup is the NOW Foods BerryDophilus Chewables. Not only do these tablets taste good, but their high level of CFUs guarantees that they are effective. They are also a cost-effective option, and are affordable to purchase each month for most families.
You know that your children need vitamins, exercise, a well-rounded diet, and a lot of love in order to grow up to be strong and healthy adults. By adding probiotics to your routine, you are doing even more for them, and the benefits will last into the long term. A lot of one's digestive health is determined during childhood, so now is the time to start taking care of it.
With the wide variety of choices for probiotics, there’s an option on this list that will make both you and your child happy. And the truth is, there is nothing more important than health and happiness.