(Last Updated On: February 2, 2018)

Your children catch the flu from school. The doctor prescribes antibiotics and vitamins.

You have a fight on your hands trying to get them to take their meds.

If only there was a way to stop that…

There is…probiotics.

Research suggests there are millions of ‘good bacteria’ in our gut which have many health benefits, including preventing and relieving flu.

So…which one do you buy for your children?

I reviewed the hottest selling 20 or so probiotics for kids available, so you don’t have to.

And came up with my roll-call of 5 best probiotics for children.

 

At A Glance: My Choices For The Best Probiotic for Children  

Culturelle Kids Packets Daily Probiotic Formula has a simple yet effective formula with one probiotic (Lactobacillus GG) and Vitamin C.

PRO-Kids: Children’s Probiotics has a guaranteed potency of 1 billion.

Renew Life – Ultimate Flora Kids Probiotic is good at relieving constipation while not making children over-regular.

SmartyPants Kids Probiotic Complete; Probiotics & Prebiotics is available in a gummy candy form kids will just LOVE.

Rainbow Light – Kids One™ Chewable Multivitamin & Mineral can be crushed and mixed into apple sauce if your kids don’t like chewing the tablets.

The Best Probiotic For Kids

01. Culturelle Kids Packets Daily Probiotic Formula Review

Lactobacillus GG is a strain of Lactobacilus rhamnosus that was isolated by Sherwood Gorbach and Barry Goldin. The ‘GG’ refers to the last names of the scientists who isolated it.

Your toddler won’t even notice he/she’s taking it because it’s completely tasteless.

However if you put it in their drink (milk or water) you must make sure to mix it in really well otherwise it may clump.

It offers quick relief from tummy problems which is a benefit in itself.

However in children tummy problems lead to tummy ache which hampers their sleep. So this probiotic helps them sleep as well.

The key ingredients are listed below.

CFU Count = 5 billion CFU.

Lactobacillus GG• Fights Obesity, Ulcers, IBS*
• Boosts immunity
• Anti-inflammatory
• Prevents skin problems like Eczema
• May fight pollutants and depression

*IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Vitamin C• Reduces stress
• Helps with cold and flu
• May help you avoid having a stroke
• Antioxidant and encourages collagen production

Directions

  • For general immune and digestive support, 1 packet a day is recommended.
  • If your child is experiencing digestive problems give them 1 packet bi-daily (one in the morning and 1 in the eveing).
  • It should be taken with cool food or drink.
  • It’s best suited for children between the ages of 1 to 3. Consult your paediatrician if you want to give it to your children.
  • Store in a cool dark place to maintain guaranteed potency.

What I Liked

Free of dairy, sugar, GMO and gluten.

The potency (I’ll explain later what that is) is guaranteed through to the date of expiry.

Will resolve constipation within days.

Resolves diarrhoea quickly.

Should stop stomach ache and thus help children sleep.

Should help clear diaper rash.

Tasteless so your kid won’t put up a fight over any bad taste.

What I Didn’t Like

You have to mix it really well in your child’s milk/water to ensure it doesn’t clump and they don’t notice it.

The product itself is dairy-free but the facility it’s manufactured handles dairy ingredients.

For some children regular consumption may lead to constipation. In such a case it may be better to consume it only to relieve some specific complaint like diarrhea.

The Best Probiotic For Children

02. PRO-Kids: Children’s Probiotics Review

It is not large and children over 3 should be able to swallow it easily.

The pearls should even dissolve if the children suck on them long enough. They have a citrus-y flavour that children should like.

It does include a very small concentration of casein (a milk protein) but it’s such a low concentration (less than 2.5 parts per million) there shouldn’t be a problem.

It may protect children from catching a cold. It’s also sure to help them recover quicker from a cold.

It works well at relieving constipation. You may not even have to worry about binding foods (foods that bind the bowels).

Any bloating problems should also go away fairly quickly.

It has a potency of 1 billion, which means at expiry it’s guaranteed to maintain 1 billion CFU’s.

The key ingredients are charted below.

CFU Count = 3 billion CFU.

Lactobacillus plantarum• Releases antimicrobial peptides which have numerous uses
Lactobacillus acidophilus• Useful against Bacterial Vaginosis, Lung infections, Diarrhea, IBS*, Eczema, Crohn’s Disease
Bifidobacterium infantis• Relieves symptoms of IBS*
• Anti-inflammatory
• Fights psoriasis, Ulcerative Colitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Bifidobacterium lactis• Boosts immunity factors in breast milk
• Fights Obesity, Diabetes, IBS*
• Anti-inflammatory

*IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

It includes a Prebiotic Fructo-Oligo-Saccharides (FOS). The FOS is derived from chicory.

It also includes other ingredients like cellulose, pectin, stearic acid, turmeric etc.

Directions

  • For general health support 1 pearl per day.
  • If your child has a specific problem you can give them 2-3 pearls a day.
  • They can be taken on an empty stomach (it’s not necessary though).
  • It’s best if the pearls are swallowed but you can also break the pearls and mix it into cool foods like yogurt or apple sauce.
  • Age – Children over 3 should be able to swallow the pearls safely. For children under 3, break the pearl into smaller pieces and mix them in a cool food like milk or yogurt.

What I Liked

 Completely free of any nuts, dairy and gluten.

 If your kid can swallow the pearls you don’t have to mix anything (like you need to do with powders). There is also no question of any taste.

 The pearls are small enough to ensure there is no risk of choking.

 It should solve constipation and bloating problems pretty quickly.

 Tummy ache should be resolved within a week or so. In turn that should help him/her sleep better.

 Children catch a cold less often and recover faster.

 May be useful dealing with ulcers.

 Should help increase appetite.

 May help reduce flare-ups of eczema.

What I Didn’t Like

The prebiotic FOS sustains both desirable and undesirable bacteria in your gut.

It may pose problems if your kid has a severe dairy allergy.

You should be careful if your child is allergic to plants like chicory, ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, daisy etc (members of the Asteraceae/Compositae family). That’s because the prebiotic FOS is derived from chicory.

The Best Berry-Flavored Kids’ Probiotic

03. Renew Life – Ultimate Flora Kids Probiotic Review

What I liked best about this one is its ability to relieve constipation while being gentle.

A typical laxative can make children over-regular so they will not even have the time to make it to the potty and take off their clothes.

This one is much more gentle so the children can live normally and avoid the embarrassment of pooping in their clothes.

It has a double benefit for those who’re prone to catching a cold or the flu.

They’ll get sick less often. They’ll also recover faster if they fall ill.

It is chewable so you avoid the trouble of vigorously mixing a powder in water/milk etc or worrying about your kid choking on it.

The downside is that some kids don’t like the taste.

You must remain careful if your children are on antibiotics. A gap of a minimum of 2 hours needs to be maintained between consumption of this and an antibiotic.

The key ingredients are charted below.

CFU Count = 3 billion CFU.

Bacillus coagulans• Fights Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis,
• Boosts immunity, Urogenital infections
• Beneficial for the Gastro-Intestinal Tract
Lactobacillus acidophilus• Useful against Bacterial Vaginosis, UTI’s**, Lung infections, Diarrhea, IBS*, Eczema, Crohn’s Disease
Bifidobacterium lactis• Boosts immunity factors in breast milk
• Fights Obesity, Diabetes, IBS*
• Anti-inflammatory
Bifidobacterium breve• Fights Obesity, Celiac Disease
• May fight Asthma
Lactobacillus salivarius• Fights IBS*, Pancreatic Necrosis
• Improves Liver Function
• May be useful against Obesity and Diabetes
Lactobacillus plantarum• Releases antimicrobial peptides which have numerous uses

*IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Includes some other ingredients like Xylitol (sugar alcohol used as a sweetener), stearic acid, citric acid and monk fruit extract (another sweetener).

Directions

  • 1 tablet to be chewed daily.
  • It has a sweet and sour taste.
  • Maintain a gap of at least 2 hours with consumption of any antibiotic (that is take them either 2 hours or more before or 2 hours or more after taking an antibiotic).

What I Liked

 Free of sugar, dairy and gluten.

 It should help tremendously with acid reflux.

 Children should get relief from stomach ache within a month. That should help them sleep better.

 It should reduce attacks of cold and the flu. It should also help children recover quickly.

 It should help clear away rashes.

 It should help relieve constipation without being unduly quick/explosive like a laxative.

What I Didn’t Like

 The latest formula may have made it a bit too sour for some children to like it.

The CFU Count could have been a bit higher. Generally speaking a 5 billion CFU count is considered sufficient.

The Best Gummy Children’s Probiotic

04. SmartyPants Kids Probiotic Complete; Probiotics & Prebiotics Review

It includes organic cane sugar and organic tapioca syrup as sweeteners.

It’s available in 2 flavors – Grapes and Strawberry Creme. If your kid doesn’t like one flavor (highly unlikely) you can always switch to the other.

These are in the gummy form which children just love.

However, normal gummy candy contains gelatin which gives them their spongy/squishy/whatever you call it texture.

Gelatin is not vegan and has side effects. This product does not use gelatins which is probably why they haven’t been able to exactly duplicate the feel of gummy bears.

This probiotic is AVA-certified vegan.

Two of the bacteria strains in this probiotic – Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus subtilis (DE111) – are spore-forming strains which makes them more beneficial.

The key ingredients are charted below.

CFU Count = 4 billion CFU.

Bacillus subtilis• Antioxidant
• Fights Obesity, Constipation, Diarrhea, IBD*
• May help with IBS**, Liver diseases
• Boosts immunity
Bacillus coagulans• Improves Lipid profile in pregnant women
• Fights Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis,
• Boosts immunity, Urogenital infections
• Beneficial for the Gastro-Intestinal Tract
*IBD – Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

**IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

It includes Bakers’ Yeast Beta-Glucan Extract, non-GMO corn starch, citric acid, carnauba wax etc.

Directions

  • Take 2 gummies daily. May be taken with or without food.
  • Children above 3 years of age should not face any problems choking on them.
  • For children below 3 years of age consult your pediatrician. If he/she approves cut the gummy into smaller pieces before giving them to your child.

What I Liked

It’s in a gummy form so children will love eating it.

In case you’re interested these probiotics are vegan.

Free of the FDA’s listed 8 top allergens.

Should relieve constipation and bloating fairly quickly and effectively.

Should help children avoid cold and flu. If they do catch it, they’ll recover quickly.

What I Didn’t Like

The drawback to the gummies is they have a good amount of sugar content – organic cane sugar and organic tapioca syrup.

Some children may not like the texture.

It will add to your vigilance duties because the young ones may want to pop them like candies…which they should be stopped from doing.

The Best Natural Children’s Probiotic

05. Rainbow Light – Kids One™ Chewable Multivitamin & Mineral Review

It avoids the FDA’s 8 most allergenic ingredients.

You can crush the tablets and mix it in yogurt or apple sauce if you kid doesn’t like chewing them.

One thing I liked about the selection of vitamins and minerals is how they play well with each other.

Take iodine and selenium.

Iodine works to improve thyroid health while selenium helps the body recycle iodine and sustain iodine levels as required.

It includes organic spirulina which is great at reducing yeast infections.

It should help resolve tummy trouble quickly. That in turn means kids will be able to sleep better as their stomach ache stops.

The key ingredients are charted below.

CFU Count = 15 million CFU.

Bacillus coagulans• Fights Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis,
• Boosts immunity, Urogenital infections
• Beneficial for the Gastro-Intestinal Tract
Vitamins• Vitamin A
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin E
• Vitamin K
• Vitamin B Complex
o B1
o B2
o B3
o B5
o B6
o B7
o B9
o B12
• Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant
• Fights
o Anaemia
o Asthma
o Constipation
o Diabetes
o Gout
o Stroke
o Autoimmune diseases
o Neurodegenerative diseases
o Migraines
• Improves
o vision and eye health
o thyroid health
o immune system
o physical performance
o concentration and memory
o heart health & blood pressure
o cholesterol levels
o bone health
o metabolism
o energy levels
o blood clotting
• Prevents erectile dysfunction
• Protects nerves
• Controls body’s stress response
• Helps wounds heal
• Encourages weight loss
Metals• Calcium
• Magnesium
• Zinc
• Selenium
• Copper
• Manganese
• Chromium
• Molybdenum
• Iron
• Iodine
• Potassium

It also includes a Bioflavonoid complex, organic spirulina, herbal tonics and a vegetable juice complex.

Directions

  • 1 star/tablet each day.
  • It may be taken on an empty stomach.

What I Liked

 Free of eggs (often triggers allergy in children), gluten and soy.

 You can easily crush the tablet and mix it with yogurt or apple sauce.

 Very good at beefing up children’s immunity.

 Includes spirulina which clears yeast infections.

 It may help children with ADHD.

 It should clear up tummy trouble quite rapidly.

What I Didn’t Like

 Some children may not like the taste initially; they should get used to it with time.

 May be a bit too large for some kids.

What did I look for?

What is the basic issue with any product?

You don’t want too little of the key ingredient – in this case the probiotic bacteria.

And you don’t want it to degrade.

So, this is the checklist

CFU Count CFU stands for ‘Colony Forming Unit’. It’s a measure of how many bacteria there are in the supplement. Generally, a CFU Count between 5 billion to 50 billion is considered good.

Potency This is a guarantee that your product will maintain its strength (in terms of CFU) till its expiry date. That is, a 50 CFU Probiotic won’t reduce to 40 CFU after a few months.

Shelf Stability This one is related to potency. It means that potency will be maintained if you keep the product on a shelf, that is, if you don’t refrigerate it. However if you want, you can always refrigerate it, there’s no harm.

Diversity of Strains You should look for a variety of strain to get the most out of your chosen probiotic.

The most useful groups of Probiotics have names starting with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

However, many brands advertise multiple strains to look good to the average consumer. Many of those will degrade on exposure to your body acids and bile and won’t reach your gut which is where the magic happens. So, be warned that a huge number of strains is no guarantee of efficacy.

Clearly labelled additives You should look for the additives, whether they’re labelled clearly. Many possible additives irritate users. In particular I’d recommend you use Probiotics that are non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free.

Free of the Top 8 Allergens It has been determined by the FDA that 90% of all allergic reactions are triggered by 8 allergens. Thus you should check if the product includes any of the top 8 allergens AND whether it is made in facilities that are exposed to the top 8 allergens.

Some tips on storing probiotics

Storage of probiotics is an issue because we are dealing with bacteria which may perish under certain conditions.

First and foremost, probiotics should not be stored in damp conditions. If moisture leaks into the probiotics the bacteria would be activated prematurely and die off.

You will notice most probiotics are packed water-tight, for example in blister packs. You can store the package on your shelf but once you take a probiotic out of its blister pack, consume it straightaway.

Next is the question of temperature. Generally speaking probiotics should not be kept in temperatures above 78 degrees Fahrenheight.

Unless the packing explicitly asks for refrigeration you don’t need to refrigerate probiotics.

Many probiotics are also able to withstand some heat for a week. This means you don’t need to throw away a packet that has been sitting in your mail for some days. However don’t make a habit of storing them in heat.

So…which children’s probiotic should you use?

You know enough to make a choice for yourself but let me present the one I think is the absolute best choice of kids’ probiotics.

My absolute first choice would be

SmartyPants Kids Probiotic Complete; Probiotics & Prebiotics

Probiotic-wise this ticks all the boxes.

The probiotic strains remedy most common problems for children. Plus they are spore-forming strains which means extra benefits.

The best thing about it is that it’s available in gummy candy form.

So you won’t have to fight with your children to make them take their probiotics; rather, you may have to see they don’t take more than their daily dose.

As an added plus, even though it’s in gummy form, it doesn’t contain gelatine and is AVA-certified vegan.

Now, because it doesn’t contain gelatine, some kids may not like its texture which allows me to segue neatly into my second choice

Rainbow Light – Kids One™ Chewable Multivitamin & Mineral

You can easily crush the tablets and mix them in yogurt or apple sauce so you can easily make your kids take them.

In addition to the probiotic, it includes a whole range of essential vitamins and minerals which should offer diverse benefits.

In fact, you could consult your paediatrician about giving both to your kids in sequence – that is the gummy bears one week and the tablets the following week – so your kids don’t feel either to be becoming stale while getting all the benefits.

CAVEAT
NEVER SWITCH YOUR CHILDREN’S PRESCRIBED MEDICATION WITH PROBIOTICS.

Probiotics are complementary to medicines.
What does that mean?
You may give your children probiotics just for general improvement of their health or to try to alleviate some specific problem (like constipation).
But you can’t substitute prescribed medication with probiotics.

It’s also a good idea to consult the pediatrician before starting your children on any probiotic.
If you ask the probiotic companies questions about your children’s health even they will ask you to consult a physician.

If you feel there’s a kids’ probiotic out there which is better than the ones I’ve selected, please do tell me in a comment! The specially good suggestions will get a shout-out on Facebook and Twitter and may even be included with attribution.

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