Probiotics are often referred to”good bacteria” that help fight “bad bacteria.” The increasing popularity of probiotics to support gastrointestinal and immune health has been driven, in large part, by a growing body of research on the benefits of probiotics for children and adults alike.

“Controlled trials have shown that Lactobacillus GG can shorten the course of infectious diarrhea in infants and children,” explains a Harvard Medical School article on the health benefits of taking probiotics.

“Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies have established that probiotic therapy can help treat several gastrointestinal ills, delay the development of allergies in children, and treat and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women.” The benefits of probiotics have also been seen in people with Crohn’s disease and IBS.

Table of Contents

What are probiotics?

The American Academy of Family Physicians defines probiotics as: “supplements containing organisms that change the microflora of the host. These organisms are typically Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus species. They are able to predominate and prevail over potential pathogenic microorganisms in the human digestive tract, and are thought to produce metabolic byproducts that function as immune modulators.”

Should you give your kids probiotics?

baby-with-sister

Because of their natural components, probiotics are typically considered to be very safe – often safe enough for infants even. They already exist in a normal digestive system, so probiotics are generally tolerated well by users. Keep in mind, though, that the health benefits of probiotics are strain-specific, so it is helpful to consult a physician or practitioner well-versed in probiotics use.

Popular probiotic products include infant formulas already containing probiotics, powdered probiotics to add to milk or yogurt, yogurts and yogurt drinks that contain probiotics, and probiotic supplements. However, some parents may worry about giving their children food and drinks containing probiotics because you may not know exactly how much and what kinds of probiotics your children are actually getting.

Probiotic supplements, in particular, can help you control the types and amounts of probiotics your children ingest. As with any medication or supplement, you should consult your child’s pediatrician before beginning to administer probiotics.

Below, we share our list of the 20 best probiotics for kids. We have chosen those that are most easily ingested and those that contain the most beneficial probiotics, according to the evidence-based research and studies conducted over the past few years. The probiotics are listed in no particular order; they are numbered for easy reference.

The 20 Best Probiotic Supplements for Kids

1. Nature’s Plus Animal Parade AcidophiKidz Children’s Chewables – Berry Flavor

Nature's Plus Animal Parade AcidophiKidz probiotic

Nature’s Plus AcidophiKidz supports a healthy gastrointestinal balance for your children with its intestinal flora. Kids will love the mixed berry flavor, and parents will enjoy knowing they have chosen a probiotic that is gluten free and includes pure fructooligosaccharides (FOS) to “maximize the effects of probiotic supplementation by enhancing bioavailability and fostering friendly intestinal flora growth.”

Key ingredients:

  • Probiotic complex of friendly intestinal flora
  • Rhododendron caucasicum
  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)

Learn more

2. Rainbow Light Probiolicious Gummies

rainbow-light-probiolicious-kids-probiotics

Shelf-stable, gluten-, soy- and dairy-free Rainbow Light Probiolicious Gummies help support and maintain a healthy digestive system for your children and yourself. With Allergen Safeguard guarantees, Probiolicious Gummies do not contain gluten, soy, yeast, milk, eggs, nuts, fish or shellfish. Probiolicious Gummies help restore your family’s digestive health with a multi-function probiotic and prebiotics from inulin and FOS.

Key ingredients:

  • 1 billion CFU Bio-Active Probiotic Defense per serving
  • Bacillus coagulans
  • Prebiotics from inulin and FOS

Learn more

3. Delpro – Natural Probiotic Supplements for Immune System Health

delpro-kids-probiotics-capsules

Delpro probiotic supplements keep children’s digestive tracts in balance with an advanced probiotic formula containing Del-Immune V plus essential probiotics that contribute to intestinal health.

In fact, in July 2013, The Journal of Probiotics and Health reported that Delpro capsules helped children with autism suffering from bowel problems. Generation Rescue, which conducted the study in conjunction with Pure Research Products LLC, shared the results of the study.

The makers of Delpro also offer several products to boost immunity and help with GI issues, including Del-Immune V, a unique probiotic-derived immune booster.

Key ingredients:

  • Del-Immune V powder
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacerium longum
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii

Learn more

4. Garden of Life RAW Probiotics Kids

Garden of Life RAW Probiotics Kids

Parents can feel good about giving their children Garden of Life RAW Probiotics Kids. The formula is specifically designed for kids’ unique needs and includes raw, organic and whole food probiotics.

RAW Probiotics Kids contains over 5 billion live probiotic cells per daily serving and supports probiotic growth, digestive health and your child’s immune system. This product is gluten free and considered safe for kids three months and older.

Key ingredients:

  • 23 RAW organic fruits and vegetables
  • RAW inulin
  • Over 5 billion live probiotic cells per daily serving

Learn more

5. ReNewLife Ultimate Flora Kids Probiotic

renewlife-ultimate-flora-kids-probiotic

With its berrylicious flavor, Ultimate Flora Kids Probiotic will make your kids happy, while you can rest assured the supplement is a safe and gentle way of balancing the good bacteria in their intestines to support growing immune systems. Naturally sweetened with Xylitol, Ultimate Flora Kids Probiotic also protects teeth.

Key ingredients:

  • 3 billion live cultures per tablet
  • 6 kid-friendly probiotic strains
  • Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria and Bacillus coagulans

Learn more

6. Culturelle Kids Probiotic Packets

culturelle-kids-probiotic-packets

Clinically proven to help reduce infrequent belly problems such as gas, bloating and diarrhea, Culturelle Kids helps balance the good and bad bacteria in your kids’ digestive systems. With regular use, Culturelle can help your children’s digestive and immune systems to work better.

Key ingredients:

  • 100% naturally sourced Lactobacillus GG
  • 5 billion cells per packet
  • Dairy-free formula

Learn more

7. NOW Foods BerryDophilus Chewables

now-berrydophilus-chewable-kids-probiotics

BerryDophilus Chewables combine probiotic strains that support gastrointestinal health and healthy immune systems, with added healthy intestinal flora. The chewables are safe for both children (age 2 and up) and adults, and they won’t harm anyone’s teeth because they are sweetened with Xylitol.

Key ingredients:

  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus salivarius
  • Lactobacillus plantarum

Learn more

8. Number One Nutrition Advanced Probiotic

Number One Nutrition Advanced Probiotic

Number One Nutrition Advanced Probiotic is considered safe for the entire family. It is made with an all-natural, vegetarian formula. This probiotic supplement supports the digestive, metabolic and immune systems and can improve colon health. Number One Nutrition Advanced Probiotic is an Amazon #1 Best Seller in antidiarrheal medications.

Key ingredients:

  • Bacillus Subtillus
  • L. Rhamnosus
  • L. Casei
  • B. Longum
  • L. Acidophilus
  • L. Plantarum
  • B. Breve
  • 10 billion CFUs and intestinal flora in every serving

Learn more

9. Digestive Advantage Kids Daily Probiotic Gummies

Digestive Advantage Kids Probiotic Gummies

Getting kids to take their probiotics every day can be a challenge, but Digestive Advantage Kids Daily Probiotic Gummies taste great and are fun to chew. Parents can feel confident in beginning the probiotic regimen at home with kids ages 3 and up. The patented BC30 probiotic formula also survives stomach acid 100x better than yogurt and other probiotics.

Key ingredients:

  • Ganeden BC30 Probiotic
  • 500 million viable cells
  • Natural flavors with colors from fruits and vegetables

Learn more

10. Nature’s Way Primadophilus Children

Nature's Way Primadophilus for Children

Sometimes, no matter how much parents try, kids will not take a supplement, even if it is a gummy or chewable tablet. Nature’s Way Primadophilus Children offers a solution with its mixable probiotic powder for children. Add the recommended dosage to any liquid to be sure your kids are getting everything they need for a healthy digestive system. This probiotic powder is recommended for children 2 years and older, but you may consult your healthcare professional for use in children under 2 years old.

Key ingredients:

  • Specially selected strains of freeze-dried bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacteria
  • Lactobacilli

Learn more

11. SeroLife

serolife-probiotic-capsules

SeroLife Probiotics are intended for men, women and children. The “5 Dimensional Probiotic” supplement brings five different strains to support your family’s gastrointestinal health, particularly for constipation, colon health and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Key ingredients:

  • Lactobacilli 
  • Bifidobacteria 
  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • FOS

Learn more

12. Pedia-Lax Probiotic Yums

pedia-lax-probiotics-yums-for-kids

Just one serving Pedia-Lax Probiotic Yums contains as many live cultures as a serving of yogurt and has a delicious strawberry flavor kids will love. When you use a probiotic supplement with your children, you control how much good bacteria they get, so you know that you are helping to promote a healthy digestive balance and prevent constipation. This supplement is sugar-free and formulated for children ages 2-11.

Key ingredients:

  • At least 100 million live cultures of Lactobacillus reuteri

Learn more

13. Biocodex Florastor Kids

florastor-kids-probiotic

Sometimes, parents are hesitant to give their children probiotics because they aren’t sure whether they are “safe.” Biocodex Florastor is “backed by more than 50 years of clinical research and recommended by doctors in 100 countries.” Backed by decades of research, parents can have peace of mind in knowing they are safely supporting their children’s healthy digestive systems and internal flora balance.

Key ingredients:

  • Saccharomyces boulardii lyo
  • Tutti-fruity-flavored powder

Learn more

14. Bio-Kult Infantis

Bio-Kult for infants

Bio-Kult Infantis is unique in that it contains 7 strains of live bacteria, is high in Omega 3 and is specially formulated for babies, toddlers and young children. Bio-Kult supports both digestive and immune system health with Vitamin D3.

Key Ingredients:

  • DHA + EPA Powder (source of Omega 3 fatty acid from fish)
  • Vitamin D3
  • Perplex (FOS and gum acacia)
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus
  • Bifidobacterium infantis

Learn more

15. Jarrow Formula Yum-Yum Dophilus

Jarrow Formulas Yum-Yum Dophilus with 4 probiotic strains

With its four strains of friendly bacteria, Jarrow Formula Yum-Yum Dophilus helps to support intestinal and immune health. With Xylitol to enhance taste and support dental health, no sugar or gluten, and no artificial sweeteners, flavor or color, Yum-Yum Dophilus is a great choice for kids.

Key ingredients:

  • 4 probiotic strains
  • MogroPure (Lo Han fruit extract, Momordica grosvenorii)
  • Natural raspberry flavor
  • Inulin-FOS
  • 1 billion cultures per serving

Learn more

16. Udo’s Choice Children’s Blend Probiotic

Udo's Choice Children's Blend

Specifically blended for children ages 5-15, Udo’s Choice Children’s Blend Probiotic contains eight bacterial strains that are the appropriate strength for children and promote healthy childhood microflora. With four billion active cells, Udo’s Choice Children’s Blend helps support regular bowel movements and a healthier digestive system.

Key ingredients:

  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus

Learn more

17. ChildLife Probiotics with Colostrum, Chewable Tablets

childlife-probiotics-with-colostrum

Colostrum powder in ChildLife Probiotics offers a full spectrum of antibodies and immune support. ChildLife Probiotics with Colostrum provides a three-step approach to children’s health: the probiotic blend is for intestinal health, the colostrum is for immune support, and the prebiotics support good bacterial growth for healthy digestion and immune function.

Key ingredients:

  • Colostrum
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • FOS

Learn more

18. BioGaia ProTectis Chewable Tablets

biogaia-protectis-kids-probiotics

BioGaia has patented its own probiotic bacteria, Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis, which has “exceptional and documented health benefits in several areas … (and) is considered a truly superior probiotic bacterium.” Safe for both children and adults, BioGaia ProTectics may be used regularly for good gut health or when temporary stomach problems occur.

Safe for both children and adults, BioGaia ProTectis may be used regularly for good gut health or when temporary stomach problems occur.

Key ingredients:

  • Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 (Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis)
  • Palm oil, lemon-lime-flavoring and citric acid
  • Xylitol

Learn more

19. FloraTummys Probiotic Sprinkles for Kids

floratummys-probiotic-sprinkles-for-kids

FloraTummys Probiotic Sprinkles naturally help kids’ immune systems, restore friendly bacteria, and reduce diarrhea, constipation and gas. Formulated specifically to be gentle on little ones’ bellies, FloraTummys Probiotic Sprinkles contain two probiotic strains and a prebiotic. This supplement is 100% natural, non-GMO and contains no wheat, eggs, yeast, sugar, corn, soy, gluten, peanuts or tree nuts, artificial flavors or preservatives, or dairy, so parents don’t have to worry about allergies.

Key ingredients:

  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • FOS

Learn more

20. Kyolic Kid’s Kyo-Dophilus

Kyolic Kid's Kyo-Dophilus

Specially formulated for kids with three strains of beneficial bacteria, Kyolic Kid’s Kyo-Dophilus promotes healthy intestinal function and well-being as well as a healthy immune system. The new formula is non-dairy, heat-stable and stomach-acid resistant. Vanilla flavor and chewable tablets make it delicious and easy to ingest for little ones.

Key ingredients:

  • Lactobacillus gasseri
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium longum

Learn more

Research and benefits of probiotics for children

As early as November 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported on the health benefits of probiotics and prebiotics for kids, including infants and children. According to a review of the report by Dr. Laurie Barclay, probiotics are “supplements or foods containing viable microorganisms capable of changing host microflora. Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) have shown probiotics to be modestly effective in treating acute viral gastroenteritis in healthy children. For otherwise healthy children and infants with diarrhea from acute viral gastroenteritis, giving probiotics early in the course may reduce the duration of diarrhea by 1 day.”

Dr. Barclay also explains in her review: “preliminary results were encouraging in RCTs in which probiotics were used to treat childhood Helicobacter pylori gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic ulcerative colitis, and infantile colic, or to prevent childhood atopy.” With probiotics becoming more popular in 2010, it’s not surprising that at least two infant formulas containing probiotics were being sold in the United States by December of that year.

Now that more time has passed for clinical trials and research on probiotics, doctors and researchers are finding the probiotics have continuing positive results in infants and children. In a January 2014 study published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers found that “administering five drops of the probiotic lactobacillus reuteri results in much shorter crying episodes, less spitting up and less constipation,” when given to infants during their first three months of life.

According to the study, infants who received the probiotic cried for only 38 minutes at a time, rather than 71 minutes. Plus, they spat up two fewer times a day than the infants who received a placebo. The study involved a total of 554 newborns in 9 hospital pediatric units. This encouraging news means that probiotics may help prevent stomach problems like colic from developing in infants. And, Dr. Frank Greer, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an expert in infant nutrition, says probiotics can suppress the growth of “bad bacteria” like E. coli.

12 helpful web resources about probiotics and kids

tossing-baby

  • Clinical Indications for Probiotics: An Overview – Authors B. R. Goldin and S. L. Gorbach give an overview of several studies pointing to the benefits and effectiveness of probiotics use in men, women and children. First, randomized double-blind studies provide evidence of the effectiveness of probiotics in treating and preventing acute diarrhea and antibiotic-induced diarrhea, as well as for the prevention of cow milk-induced food allergy in infants and young children. Other studies have provided evidence of the effectiveness for preventing traveler’s diarrhea, relapsing Clostridium difficile-induced colitis, and urinary tract infections. Still, others have shown that probiotics may be useful for preventing respiratory infections in children, dental caries, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease. Overall, the probiotics with the greatest number of evidence-based effectiveness are Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG and Saccharomyces boulardii.
  • 27 Probiotic Benefits for Children – Written by Pat Robinson for GreenMedInfo, “27 Probiotic Benefits for Children” gives the information its title suggests. Pat lists 27 uses for probiotics and includes links to studies and reports with the evidence backing up the claims. This resource especially is useful for parents who aren’t sure if probiotics are the answer to a child’s ailment or want to know more about the research behind the benefits before using one of the supplements listed above.
  • Will Probiotics Restore Good Bacteria for Kids? – Blogger Amy Roskelley has struggled with Ulcerative Colitis since age 12 and hypothyroid since age 36. She takes a probiotic to control these auto-immune issues and has been getting clean bills of health for quite some time; she also rarely has stomach pain or bleeding. Like most parents, though, she has questions about starting probiotics use with her children, but she was going to start him on a 30-day trial to see if probiotics helped her then 10-year-old son with his exercise and grass induced asthma. She also provides an in-depth look at probiotics and specific questions and considerations in the post.
  • How To Give Your Baby Probiotics – Blogger Stephanie at Mama & Baby Love responds to readers’ questions about how to give a baby probiotics, as more and more parents realize the benefits of probiotics for gut health even in very small children. She encourages mothers to begin their own probiotic regimen and to give their babies probiotics as early as day 3 and details specific ways in which to administer those probiotics to infants, including putting powdered probiotics on your finger and letting the baby suck them off, sprinkling it on baby’s tongue, or putting some in a bottle and mixing it in with breast milk or formula.
  • Does your family take probiotics? – In this article, Rachel Rabkin Peachman asks the question most parents ask themselves when they hear about probiotics in the news and from physicians: could they be right for your family. Rachel’s informative article clearly explains probiotics and quotes doctors on the benefits of probiotics. She also points out that there is more evidence to be collected, but that the current studies and research point to very promising benefits of probiotics. If you aren’t sure where to start with your own probiotic research, consider starting with Rachel’s article.
  • Are Probiotics for Kids a Good Idea? – Vicki Campbell, of Momtastic, considers the same question is on a lot of parents’ minds as they begin looking into supporting their children’s digestive and immune system health. In her brief article, she points out that babies swallow amniotic fluid at birth and begin the colonization and stimulation of good bacteria in their own little bodies. She goes on to explain the benefits of probiotics and the research behind them while recommending that parents who are still feeling uneasy about starting probiotics with their children should consult their pediatrician for their recommendations on brands and correct dosages, especially because kids won’t eat enough foods rich in probiotics and would need to take them in the form of supplements.
  • Could My Baby Benefit from Probiotics? – In a blog post on Mommy Edition, blogger Rachel explains the differences between probiotics and prebiotics and points to common ailments in babies that probiotics have been shown to ease, such as acid reflux, constipation, diaper rash, eczema, gassiness, and others. One of the best features about the post is that she then breaks into each of the ailments and explains how probiotics help each one, with medical evidence included for some. Finally, she recommends some probiotics for infants, including a few that we’ve recommended above.
  • The “Straight Poop” About Probiotics – Blogger Adrienne describes her own journey through researching and beginning a probiotics routine in a Whole New Mom post. This is another great starting point for parents who are feeling hesitant about beginning probiotics with their own families. Throughout the post, Adrienne offers facts and links to reliable sources to help readers get even more information about Probiotics. She also describes which supplements she and her family tried and the results they achieved through their use. She also provides a helpful breakdown detailing the results for each member of her own family, to offer a clear picture into her family’s experiences with Probiotics.
  • SuperKids Nutrition: Jo Ann Tatum Hattner, MPH, RD – Sometimes, the best way to get information about probiotics is to go straight to a nutrition expert, and that’s exactly what SuperKids Nutrition has done in this article. Based on Jo Ann’s pediatric practice and current research from her book Gut Insight, she explains how easy it is for parents to give probiotics to their kids to set them on the right path to health benefits for their growing immune systems. From outlining the benefits of probiotic use to offering advice on what to look for in probiotic-rich foods and probiotic supplements, the article gives a clear picture for parents interested in starting probiotics with their children.
  • 3 Benefits of Probiotics For Your Baby – This post from Daily Mom explains that there is “a whole host of reasons to start integrating probiotics into your baby’s diet. The same can be said for toddlers and older children – the benefits at all ages are numerous.” While the post points out that there are some benefits to giving kids food products such as yogurt and kefir that contain probiotics, the author explains that a probiotic regimen can start with infants if parents use supplements. As for those 3 benefits mentioned in the title? Well, you’ll have to read the article to see just how probiotics help with 3 very common ailments faced by infants, toddlers, and young children.
  • A Powerful Probiotic Strain For Kids (And How To Give It To Them) – Genevieve, a blogger at Mama Natural, gives a helpful overview of a study that was done showing how the “gut micro biome can influence our brain chemistry and a wide range of behaviors from depression to anxiety to pain perception.” She also did a little more digging and found an extensive body of research exists supporting the use of Lactobacillus reuteri with children to help promote that gut health in kids. She also outlines specific issues in kids that the probiotic has been proven to help, including diarrhea, respiratory infections, infant colic, and more. Even more useful to parents are Genevieve’s tips on products that contain Lactobacillus reuteri, including how to get kids to take probiotics, and what she is doing with her own children for their probiotic regimens.
  • Giving children probiotics – Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, in “Giving children probiotics,” explains how she is becoming a big believer in giving kids probiotic supplements to improve intestinal health. She points to an Italian study published in Pediatrics that found ample benefits of using probiotics with fussy or colicky babies. As a pediatrician, Dr. Swanson explains that there is a low risk associated with giving children, even infants, probiotics and that research is becoming ever more supportive of the practice.

Best probiotics for kids – Complete list

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