Let me guess.
You overheard some people talking at the clinic. You read a magazine article. You saw an ad at the pharmacy. But you heard the buzzword and pricked your ears up, didn’t it?
Truth is, many people have been on the probiotic train recently after all the research that is coming out. It’s been shown to help with everything from traveler’s diarrhea to general health overall. And now, it’s being recommended for kids too.
This makes sense, but before I can explain why, let’s back up a bit with a little science lesson.
What do probiotics actually do?
You may know that our body carries trillions of bacteria. But much of this bacteria is actually good for us and necessary for our body to function healthily. One of the places where this is absolutely essential is our gut. Why is gut flora and bacteria so important? Because, if you think about, almost all our energy and nourishment comes from our food. We eat it, digest it, and that’s what keeps us alive, basically. Gut flora is what allows us to digest our food properly. Without the proper gut bacteria, our body is unable to absorb all that essential nutrition from the food that we eat, meaning we cannot function, develop and grow. Think about someone who suffers from diarrhea or indigestion. The food goes in, but the body can’t process it. It excretes it quickly to avoid discomfort, and we lose all that potential nourishment. What’s the point of eating very healthy food if your body can’t digest it?
This is why probiotics are becoming more important for our children. Strong digestion is far more important for a child than it is for an adult. This is the time that their bodies are growing and their brains are developing. Without the right nutrition, their development is affected. Good, healthy gut flora equals good healthy children.
However, you can’t just give them anything. When it comes to giving our kids probiotics I’ve noticed two things:
- You need something that they will actually eat! Our kids seem to hate pills, but they adore gummies (what a surprise). So make sure you get something your kids won’t mind eating with each meal.
- You need a good variety of strains. It’s less effective to give your child just two or three strains. Try to give them a wide variety of strains to strengthen their guts as much as possible.
- As with adult probiotics, it works best to give it to them during meal time. We like to give them during dinner, and we all take our probiotics at the same time. It’s a great reminder for us to take ours as well!
So what are the best probiotics for children? Whether you’re just starting your kids on them or you’re looking for something new, we’ve broken down our favourites below:
This was the first probiotic we started our sons on and it was perfect. It contains 1 billion CFU (colony forming units) which is a good, mild dosage to make sure it doesn’t upset their tummies at all. I tried one myself and they taste just like a piece of orange candy – your kids will definitely gobble them down without a problem. It contains 4 different strains.You can get them on Amazon by clicking here.
One word: Yum! Even I started eating these when I saw them in the pantry (guilty eye roll). The kids absolutely love these and they’re still the ones we buy most often today (we try to cycle the probiotics we buy, mostly the ones on this list, just to give them a variety of strains). They basically taste like gummy bears so you almost need to hide them from the kids! If your kids are picky eaters, this is definitely the product for them – in our opinion one of the best probiotics for infants and kids. They contain 5 billion CFU which is a good healthy hit of kid-friendly gut flora. We love this product and the rest of the stuff from Anmar – we also give our kids their gummy multivitamins.You can click here to get Anmar’s probiotic gummies on Amazon.
I actually take a lot of Now Foods supplements myself so was pleasantly surprised when I found they had a kids’ probiotic product. Our kids love these fun shaped chewies and I also find myself popping one in my mouth whenever I give them theirs. I like to buy this one quite often for them (and me!) because it seems to be the most comprehensive probiotic we’ve found for kids. It has ten different strains and 2 billion CFU, which is great because it means we can give them two or three at a time as a little treat and it’s still not a big dosage. Definitely thumbs up from me!You can get them on Amazon by clicking here.
This product is a nice alternative if you want to give probiotics to our toddler, or your kids for some reason don’t like eating chewies or gummies (I can’t imagine why, but kids are strange these days, aren’t they?) These FloraTummys probiotics come in a sachet of probiotic powder that you can sprinkle into a glass of juice or soda. It doesn’t have a taste so you can even mix it into their mashed potatoes or soup if you prefer, making them one of the better baby probiotics. We did get them once but the kids loved the gummies so much that we just stick with that. Another good option though if circumstance requires it.You can get a box of FloraTummys on Amazon by clicking here.
This was a probiotic that the kids didn’t enjoy quite as much. I also tried them and I agree the flavour was a little less fun (by that I mean, it just didn’t taste like candy, we’re getting spoiled aren’t we?)
However I do actually like this probiotic a lot as it has 14 different strains, more than any other on this list, and contains 5 billion CFU per tab. It also contains vitamins C and D which is a nice bonus too.
From a health perspective it’s probably the best one on here, but I think the most important thing with these things is that your kids love to eat them every day. We like the gummies, but if your kids are suffering from some serious gut problems such as diarrhea or constipation, we’d recommend giving these ones a try. They don’t taste bad in any way, so I’m sure they’ll get them down without a problem!You can get them here on Amazon
We haven’t tried this one yet, but it comes very highly praised on Amazon. Like I said, half the challenge with a good probiotic is finding one your kids like the taste of. If we were still trying to find one that the kids couldn’t wait to gobble down each night, we’d probably be giving these Culturelle ones a try (we probably still will in the future some time). They come with 5 billion CFUs, but only seem to contain one strain – Lactobacillus GG. Culturelle claims this is one of the most effective probiotic strains for kids, so it might be good to pair this with another more strain-heavy product and cycle them. Either way, seems like a good one to try.You can get them here on Amazon.
This is one of the more expensive offerings out there right now, but seems to be very popular as well. Hyperbotics delivers their kids probiotic in a “pearl” rather than a chewable, claiming that the slow-release you get with “pearl” delivery improves the potency (up to 15x). I don’t know how true that is, but it is something I’ve heard about other adult probiotics in the past. The great thing about this Hyperbotics product though is you can still chew it if you want, so if your kids aren’t capable of swallowing pills they can still take it. I’m not sure if it’s worth the extra price, as we’ve seen some great results with the gummies we’ve been using (our youngest son’s stools have become much healthier since we got him on these, plus he burps a lot less), but if you’re not getting results perhaps this might be one for you to try.You can get more info about them here on Amazon.
Have you been giving your kids probiotics? What have your results been like? Let us know in the comments below 🙂