Probiotics for Kids... Are They Beneficial? Are They Safe?
Probiotic supplements have exploded in usage in the last few years, with experts touting improvements in digestive health and boosted immune system. While the benefits for adults are frequently discussed, what about probiotics for toddlers and kids? Children are not miniature adults, after all. Their small bodies react differently and have unique nutritional needs. Can probiotics be beneficial for children? Are they safe? What’s the appropriate probiotic dosage for a toddler? Or a preteen? We discuss all that and more in today’s post…
Probiotic Benefits for Children
The gut contains a variety of strains of “good” bacteria, yeast, and micro-organisms known as flora. Maintaining a balance of good-to-bad bacteria in the gut is important to overall wellness. And, yes, children can absolutely benefit from probiotics. Some of the potential benefits include:
- Healthy Digestive System. By promoting a homeostatic (“as it should be”) environment in the gut, probiotics have been shown to relieve issues of diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, constipation, colic and urinary tract infections.
- Immunity. More than 50% of the immune system is found in and regulated by the gut. Having a good immune system is important to staying healthy. And as children are around other children, whether at daycare or school, having a strong immunity is even more critical. Some studies suggest probiotics can reduce the frequency of ear infections, respiratory infections, and other common childhood illnesses. Probiotics may also help protect against conditions such as eczema.
- Brain Health. The brain-gut relationship is well-established. A healthy digestive tract leads to improvement in several non-digestive areas. These include mental focus, improved mood, and reduction in stress and anxiety.
Sources of Probiotics
There are many strains and sources of probiotics. But the best probiotics for kids feature variety. Include several sources of probiotics in your child’s diet to ensure ensure healthy balance in various probiotic strains. Food sources include fermented products, such as:
Not necessarily every child’s list of favorite foods, right? If your child is reluctant to eat some of these foods or you feel your child could benefit from supplements, try probiotic chewables designed especially for kids. To ensure safety and quality, choose a supplement with a balance of active strains that is made in a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) lab.
Probiotic Dosage for Child (and Safety)
Probiotics are generally considered safe for children. But many parents ask, “Can a child overdose on probiotics?” Like anything, there are varying opinions as to whether or not a child can overdose on them. Some experts state that, because the gut contains more than 100 trillion bacteria, it’s impossible to overdose. Many of those same experts acquiesce that excessive probiotics may contribute to digestive troubles, including bloating and gas. Other experts note that there really can be too much of a good thing.
All agree that probiotics are safe in appropriate dosages for healthy children. (Just reference the label on a reputable supplement). However, if your child has a compromised immune system, such as preterm infants or children with HIV, probiotics may do more harm than good.
So, what is the right probiotic dosage for a child? Recommended levels range from 1 to 10 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) one to three times a day on an empty stomach or between meals. Start with the lowest dose (i.e. once a day). Give the probiotics a reasonable amount of time to work. If no results are noticed, increase the dosage incrementally. If the probiotics seem to work too well (excess gas and bloating), reduce to every other day. Just as in adults, every child’s body is different and responds differently to supplements.
Always consult your child’s pediatrician before starting on a course of probiotics.
Get the Best Probiotics for Kids
Shop our special offer on BIPRI Kids Probiotic Chewables, a delicious berry-flavored probiotic for toddlers and children up to 12 years of age. (For older kids and adults, check out BIPRI Probiotic Blend with prebiotic fiber.) Parents love BIPRI Kids Probiotic Chewables for:
- Immune support
- Care for the delicate brain/gut connection
- Daily digestive support
By combining ten clinically-validated strains of healthy probiotic bacteria, BIPRI Kids Probiotic Chewables packs a total of two billion colony-forming units (CFU). Learn more!
If you and your child’s health care professional decide that probiotics would be a good course of treatment, make sure you select a supplement with which you feel comfortable. If you have questions or want more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 888-549-5519 or use the online chat feature.