Best Kids Probiotic Studies (2022)
For most children in the west, mild diarrhea is common and not usually a cause for concern but may still require a trip to the Doctor.
This guide will look at the research on probiotic use in children and if certain strains can help with various health issues like diarrhea or not.
7 Best Probiotics For Kids
Each of my favorite kid's probiotic supplements has thousands of verified customer reviews and a minimum of 4 out of 5-star rating on Amazon. They all have various refund policies so it's best to contact & check directly with each brand for precise information.
Renew Life Ultimate Flora probiotic also known as Ultimate Flora Kids Probiotic 3 billion is a fruit-flavored probiotic supplement that has been specifically designed with kids in mind. Each serving contains up to 3 billion CFUs of 6 different probiotic strains and costs $14.44.
Customers also have the option to buy a larger bottle that has 60 chewable tabs or 60 servings that costs $22.49. Renew Life Kids Ultimate Flora Probiotic claims to help reduce occasional stomach upsets and supports the immune system.
Each serving contains B. coagulans, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium breve, Lactobacillus salivarius, and Lactobacillus plantarum. All these good bacteria strains may have beneficial effects on healthy gut flora by crowding out the bad bacteria.
OLLY Kids Multi + Probiotic is a health supplement for kids that contain multivitamins and probiotics. It’s among the few products on the market that combine multivitamins with probiotics.
It comes in the form of chewable gunnies that contain Vitamin A, C, D, E, Bs & Zinc in addition to 250 million CFUs of Bacillus Coagulans.
For toddlers of around 3-4 years, the serving size is 1 gummy a day, while kids of 4+ years and adults need to take 2 probiotic gummies a day. A single bottle consisting of 35 servings costs $13.99 while a bottle containing 50 gummies costs $17.99.
NOW® BerryDophilus™ is a chewable probiotic supplement from Now Foods that has been specially developed for kids.
It contains 2 billion CFUs of 10 different probiotic strains that have been clinically validated and are known to support gastrointestinal health and also help maintain the proper functioning of the immune system.
NOW® BerryDophilus™ is available in two bottles that contain 60 or 120 chewable tablets and can also be used by adults in addition to kids.
They’ll help you restore the gut flora balance in your kid’s gut and are completely safe to take. Now Foods is known for its health and probiotic supplements in addition to Vitamins and has excellent reviews for most of its products.
Culturelle Kids Purely Probiotics Packets is a probiotic supplement for kids of 1+ years that contains 5 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and no artificial sweeteners.
Culturelle is a market leader in baby probiotics and is known for its probiotics for men, women, and kids. Culturelle Kids Daily Probiotic helps your child’s digestive system get back on track and supports the functioning of the immune system in children.
It's the most widely recommended probiotic supplement that is trusted by pediatricians. A single pack of 30 packets costs $22.99 while one can also buy a larger pack of 50 servings for $28.99.
Hyperbiotics Pro-Kids probiotics contain 3 billion CFUs of 4 targeted probiotic strains. These have been specifically designed for kids and are free of GMU, dairy, soy, gluten, wheat, nuts, and preservatives.
A single bottle contains 60 patented time-release tablets and costs $20. A single serving of 1 tablet is enough for a day but it's possible to take up to 3 tablets a day. While the company recommends that these be swallowed, your kid can also chew the tasty tablets if they desire so.
Each tablet also contains prebiotics that increases the efficacy of probiotic strains and makes these tablets more effective.
Garden of Life’s Dr. Formulated Probiotics is a chewable probiotic that contains 5 billion CFUs of 14 different probiotic strains.
It also contains prebiotics and Vitamin C + D. Dr. Formulated Probiotics comes in tasty organic berry cherry chewable flavor. A single bottle contains 30 servings of chewable tablets and costs $20.79.
Dr. Formulated Probiotics is a USDA-certified organic product that is also gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, dairy-free, and contains no added sugars.
In addition to being sold online, these chewable tablets can also be bought from Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, and Downtown Natural Market stores in the US.
Smarty Pants Kids Probiotics and Prebiotic Immunity Formula is a strawberry-crème flavored, vegan, and non-GMO probiotic supplement that also contains prebiotics.
Smarty Pants Kids probiotic delivers 4 billion CFUs of two different strains B. coagulans and B. subtilis in a single serving. It comes in bottles of 60 tasty gummies that are enough for 30 days supply.
A single bottle costs $18.81 for a one-time purchase and one can get a lower price of $16.96 for the monthly subscription option.
If you buy multiple bottles at once, then you can get further discounts of 5% to 15%. The company offers standard free shipping on orders above $39.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotic is a loose term that generally refers to live bacteria and yeast, that are commonly found in the human body. Contrary to public perception, the human body serves as a host to billions and trillions of bacteria and yeast that play an essential role in our body’s metabolic functions.
The human gut or gastrointestinal tract is the place where one can find the vast majority of these live organisms. Collectively bacteria present in the gut are known as microbiota and reside in the gut microbiome. These microorganisms can also be taken from outside in the form of powder, capsules, gummies, or tablets and when taken as a supplement these are known as probiotics.
Probiotics are essential for our immune system and play a crucial role in the digestive process as they help with the digestion of food. Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium & Saccharomyces yeast are some of the beneficial probiotics that are used for treating various conditions.
Probiotics can also be found in several fermented foods as they occur naturally as a byproduct of the fermentation process. Children can get probiotics from food items such as Kefir, tempeh, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi buttermilk, and some cheeses.
One of the best probiotic strains is Lactobacillus Reuteri because it has been studied as a potential tool for children suffering from colic. Additionally, other benefits of probiotics may include assisting with diarrhea, bloating and constipation in both kids, and adults.
Probiotic Yogurt For Children Study
Organic low-sugar animal dairy yogurts like Activia, Lifeway & Siggi's made with starter cultures like Streptococcus thermophilus or Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp can be a great source of probiotics that kids love to eat.
This 2015, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study tested the effects of a synbiotic yogurt drink in healthy children aged between 1 and 3 years of age. The synbiotic yogurt contained 1g of Inulin prebiotic fiber crucial for the probiotic bacteria to thrive.
The probiotic yogurt contained 5-Billion CFU per 100ml serving and contained Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Bifidobacterium Lactis (BB-12) gram-positive probiotic strains, and another placebo yogurt was also used as a control that could show potential gastrointestinal benefits.
The probiotic & placebo yogurts were taken every day for 16 weeks with 73 taking the placebo and 76 taking the probiotics. It was found that children taking the probiotic bacteria had fewer days off school and better social functioning suggesting it had some cognitive effect through the gut & brain axis effect.
Probiotics For Diarrhea In Children
This meta-analysis published in 2019 had researchers look at the efficacy of various probiotic strains preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea in children. 33 studies were selected for analysis that included 6352 children who used probiotics along with antibiotics.
The studies tested Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Saccharomyces, Clostridium butyricum, Bifidobacterium and Lactococcus.
Some of the stand-out strains mentioned in the conclusion were Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG which can be found in Culturelle probiotics and Saccharomyces Boulardii which is a type of yeast.
The analysis showed that probiotics couldn't completely prevent Antibiotic-associated diarrhea but there were some positives. It was claimed that there was a "moderate protective effect" against diarrhea with a minimum of 5-Billion CFUs taken daily being the ideal dosage.
There were said to be no serious side effects that were attributable to the probiotics at a lower CFU count.
Probiotics For Colic
Colic can occur in infants leading to prolonged crying with no obvious cause which can be distressing for parents and also the baby. A 2016 review from Brisbane, Australia looked at 17 studies involving colicky infants under 6 months of age with many low-quality studies being discarded for the meta-analysis.
The analysis by the researchers found that Lactobacillus Reuteri was effective at making a marked difference in the length of crying at around 21 days of taking the probiotic bacteria daily versus placebo but more clinical trials were needed to ascertain the efficacy of L. Reuteri on colic.
This other 2014 randomized controlled trial was published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health and was not included in the meta-analysis because it did not test the L. Reuteri strain. It was carried out by the Pediatric Gastroenterology Unit at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences at included 50 breastfeed babies with colic and their mothers.
The study did however find that 1 billion colony-forming units of L. casei, L. rhamnosus, Streptococcus thermophilus, B. breve, L. acidophilus, B. infantis, and L. bulgaricus along with FOS prebiotic fiber taken daily for 1 month was able to "significantly improve colic symptoms" versus a placebo group.
One of the biggest positives from both of these pieces of research was that no adverse reactions were reported in any of the babies taking the Lactobacillus & Bifidobacteria.
Are Probiotics Safe For Kids?
Generally speaking in most cases probiotic supplements are safe for children but there are some exceptions. Premature infants, and children immunocompromised or with any other serious health conditions should not take probiotics and get advice from their pediatrician or doctor beforehand.
Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces Boulardii, and most Bacillus strains have been studied in children and no adverse reactions have been reported in healthy children. Probiotic supplements are classed as dietary supplements so therefore do not require FDA approval before being marketed to the public.
In recent years there has been some good high-quality research into the potential effects that probiotics can have on infants, toddlers, and kids.
One of the main takeaways is that the brands listed in this guide are safe. If your child is healthy then it's unlikely that they will experience any benefits from probiotics.
The content in this guide is not medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. I am not a doctor.