Friendly bacteria, known as probiotics, may offer health benefits for adults and children alike. But you should consult your pediatrician before giving your child probiotics. Never give probiotics to children or infants who are seriously ill or have weakened immune systems. Probiotics may cause flatulence and mild stomach discomfort. Some probiotics require refrigeration, while others don't, so follow the storage instructions on the label accordingly.
Potential Benefits for Children
Probiotics are bacteria and yeasts that normally occur in the body and help keep the system healthy. For children, probiotics may help reduce common digestive issues and boost resistance to infection. Infants given probiotics within the first three months of life experienced less constipation, acid reflux and colic, according to a study published in the March 2014 issue of the "JAMA Pediatrics" journal. Check the age range on the label, because some supplements are formulated for ages 2 months and older, while others are meant for ages 2 years and over.
ConsumerLab.com independently tested and reviewed probiotic supplements for adults and children. FloraStor Kids came out on top. The supplement comes in powder packets and capsules that contain a specific type of friendly yeast called S. boulardii lyo. Several studies have found this strain beneficial for combating pediatric diarrhea. For example, "The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene" published a study in March 2010 showing that this strain significantly shortened the duration of diarrhea in children.
Nature's Way Primadophilus Kids
The supplement watchdog LabDoor rated Nature's Way Primadophilus Kids among the top for highest quality and best value. It contains a blend of three of the most common friendly bacteria -- Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium longum and Lactobacillus acidophilus -- in a chewable tablet. Certain strains like Lactobacillus rhamnosus may reduce infections in babies. Infants who received a probiotic supplemented formula that contained Lactobacillus rhamnosus had lower ear infection rates and fewer respiratory infections, according to a study published in the 2009 issue of the "British Journal of Nutrition."
Based on a 2014 survey of pediatricians, Culturelle Kids ranked as the top recommended brand, according to the manufacturer's website. This product contains the single strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Like other strains of probiotics, it may help boost your child's immune system to fight off issues like infectious diarrhea and help keep the digestive system healthy. It may also help reduce the risk of your child picking up a lung infection at daycare, according to Drugs.com.