The 5 Best Probiotics for KidsThis post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
One of the most natural, effective, and safest ways to boost your family’s digestive health and immunity is by adding a probiotic into your routine. And the best part is, probiotics are even formulated for kids! But how do you choose which one is best for your little ones? This guide can help to zero in on what to look for when choosing a probiotic for your children (and what you should avoid!). You’ll also find out where probiotics can naturally be found and why your kids might benefit from them.
If you’re like most parents, the word “bacteria” might send you into a panic. Even a little infection can have huge consequences for your kids. So anything you can do to keep your kids healthy will probably be high on your list of priorities.
But it’s important to remember that not all bacteria are bad. In fact, we need certain types of good bacteria in our bodies in order to function at our best. Research shows that having the right type of gut bacteria can improve digestive function and immunity, promote weight loss, enhance skin health, and reduce the risk of numerous diseases. If you (or your kids) don’t have enough of this good bacteria, your whole system might be out-of-whack. For kids and infants especially who struggle with digestive issues or need an immune boost, supplementing with probiotics can alleviate some of those concerns.
So what are the benefits of probiotics?
Probiotics are living organisms (which can be bacteria or yeast) that can benefit your body in a number of ways. They can help:
- Create vitamins for the body
- Improve metabolic function
- Strengthen the immune system
- Boost your digestive system (especially after a round of antibiotics or after an illness like food poisoning).
- Reduce the severity of certain allergies or eczema
- Reduce symptoms of certain digestive conditions – e.g. inflammatory bowel diseases (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease).
Are some strains of probiotics healthier or more beneficial than others?
Yes! Not all probiotics are the same. Every person’s gut flora — the community of microorganisms within your gut — has a different array of bacteria. This means that different strains of probiotics will prove more beneficial for some people than others. Some strains have also been shown to be more effective in treating specific conditions. The probiotic you choose (either for yourself or your child) will be unique. However, there are some probiotic strains that are known to be among the most beneficial. They include:
- L. Plantarum: This probiotic can boost iron absorption, fight off pollutants, neutralize harmful intestinal bacteria, ease bloating, and speed up the digestive process.
- L. Acidophilus: As one of the most well-known strains of probiotics on the market, this option can prevent or reduce diarrhea, improve IBS symptoms, reduce symptoms associated with colds and allergies, and more.
- L. Brevis: This lactic acid bacteria can treat bacteria in children. However, those who are lactose intolerant may find that other strains of probiotics reduce the onset of unwanted side effects.
- B. Lactis: Another probiotic option you might see is B.Lactis, which has been found to improve immunity and digestion while lowering cholesterol, decreasing lactose intolerance, treating constipation and diarrhea, and even fighting tumors.
- B. Longum: Like other probiotic supplements, this can be a good option for those who want to boost their immunity, reduce infection frequency and severity, and improve symptoms associated with gastrointestinal conditions. In addition to improving overall gut health and IBS symptoms, some studies have found B.Longum could have positive effects for those with untreated Celiac disease.
- S. Boulardii: This is actually a yeast, rather than a bacteria. However, this probiotic can help to protect the gut lining.
The 5 Best Probiotics For Kids
Whether you are looking for a probiotic for your infant, toddler, or older child, these 5 probiotics are the healthiest, cleanest options I’ve found on the market today! Here are my top five choices for the best probiotics for kids.
This option comes in powder form with a mild banana flavor, making it easy to blend into a breakfast smoothie. On its own, it contains 23 raw organic fruits and veggies; it’s also gluten-free, certified organic, and free of sugars, soy, binders, and fillers. It can be used starting at 3 months of age all the way until your child is a teenager (just check the label for dosing instructions depending on your child’s age).
This probiotic is specially made for infants (can be used starting at 6 months of age) and can easily be mixed with breast milk, formula, or baby food. Not only is it hypoallergenic, and has no added ingredients, but it’s gentle and safe for very young children, but it can continue to be used for children over a year old (you’ll just use a bigger dose as your child gets older – dosing instructions are on the label).
This is a liquid probiotic that’s also 100% Organic, Raw, Non-GMO, Vegan, Paleo, Ketogenic, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Corn Free, Soy Free, Nut Free. Bariatric and Celiac Friendly. It’s shelf-stable and tasteless, meaning that it’ll last for a long time and can be added to almost anything. It is meant for kids aged 12+, but if your child is younger than 12 years old, you can ask your pediatrician about dosing instructions for younger kids.
Although this probiotic comes in capsule form, those capsules can easily be opened to mix the contents into food or beverages for children. With a unique blend of 15 probiotic strains inside, the small effort might be well worth it. This probiotic is non-GMO and has no artificial ingredients added. Ask your pediatrician about dosing instructions if your child is under the age of 12.
These probiotics come in a time-release pearl form, but they’re so small that they’re easy for virtually any child to swallow. Although they’re little, they pack a big immunity punch! This is more of a runner-up option because it does have some stabilizers added and is sweetened with stevia, but it is free of artificial colors and flavors.
What should you avoid when choosing probiotics for your kids?
There are so many probiotics on the market today, and the ones marketed for kids are usually filled with artificial colors, sweeteners/added sugars, and may have less beneficial / cheaper strains of probiotics! When you’re looking for the best probiotic for your child, here are the ingredients to avoid:
- Heavy metals
- Artificial sweeteners (including stevia)
- Added sugars
- Artificial colors
- Artificial flavors
- Preservatives or stabilizers (like carrageenan, gums, etc.)
Where Else Can Probiotics Be Found?
Different strains of probiotics can be taken as dietary supplements, which can be an easy way to increase your intake. But probiotics can also naturally be found in many of the foods we eat. Yogurt is one of the best sources for probiotics, provided that the yogurt you choose contains active cultures. Of course, you’ll want to ensure that any yogurt you purchase doesn’t contain added sugars. Kefir, miso, pickles, sourdough bread, tempeh, and even certain types of cheeses can also contain probiotics. If you really want to support your family’s gut health, you might consider picking up some of these options during your next grocery run.
How Can Children Benefit From Probiotics?
Keep in mind that while probiotics will often provide different advantages for adults, children can still benefit from incorporating probiotics into their regular wellness routine. Children who have weakened immune systems or are more susceptible to stomach bugs and other illnesses may find some relief with probiotics. In cases involving children with acute gastroenteritis, for example, certain probiotics were found to reduce the duration of a stomach bug. In addition, children who need to take an antibiotic for recurring ear infections, dental illnesses, or other issues may experience side effects — and probiotics can help to counteract (or even prevent) those symptoms.
Other reviews suggest that probiotics may prevent respiratory tract infections, which may be helpful for families who rely on daycare or preschool. Children with gastrointestinal disorders, like IBS, may experience improved symptoms after incorporating different strains of probiotics into their routines, too.
While many parents might dismiss the idea of probiotics for children, preliminary research suggests that these helpful bacteria can make a positive difference for many kids.
Can you buy probiotics for kids online?
Absolutely! All of the 5 probiotics I recommend are shipped cold, or don’t need to be refrigerated, so you can be assured that the probiotics that arrive at your door are high quality. And since the U.S. is the world’s second-largest e-commerce market with 40% of U.S. internet users buying online — you’ll have no problem finding these brands online or wherever you get your health and wellness products.
I hope this guide helped you to find the best probiotic for your child! With this information in mind, you should be in a great position to make the right choice for your family.
Note: Before using any of these products for your child(ren), please consult with your pediatrician on the proper dosing and to make sure they approve of the probiotic you have chosen. I’m not a doctor and this post is not meant as medical advice.