One of the sectors of the population in which more clinical trials have been carried out to study the therapeutic effect of probiotics has been precisely in the child population.
Generally, pathologies of intestinal origin (diarrhea, colic, abdominal pain, among others) have been the most studied in order to determine the therapeutic effect of these probiotics in kids.
Taking probiotics is always beneficial and can be taken at any time. You don’t have to wait until you are sick to use probiotics because they always provide a balance in the intestinal microbiota. However, one of the pathologies in which the therapeutic effect of probiotics has been most studied in children is diarrhea.
Best probiotics for kids
According to the World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO), in its latest guide of February 2017, in the treatment of gastroenteritis and diarrhea in kids, it states that the probiotic strains with the greatest positive impact in the treatment of diarrhea are Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is one of the most widely used probiotic strains with the most documented studies in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea and gastrointestinal infectious processes.
For its part, ESPGHAN in its 2014 report, agrees with the WGO on the therapeutic evidence in the use of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Saccharomyces boulardii, although ESPGHAN also includes Lactobacillus reuteri, specifically strain DSM 17938 for the treatment of this diarrhea in kids.
Let’s look at some of the probiotic products for children that we can find on-line:
Culturelle probiotics for kids
Culturelle, is a well-known brand of probiotics belonging to the Dutch group DSM. It has several presentations of probiotics for kids, all of them with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.
Thus, we can find Culturelle Purely Probiotics for children with 5 billion microorganisms of the Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG strain. As we mentioned before, it is one of the most studied strains with therapeutic properties and in particular, to combat the processes of diarrhea (1)
This product can be found in packets or chewable tablets, both with the same amount of probiotics from the Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG strain.
Culturelle Probiotics for Kids Ultimate Balance
In this case, it is the same product, but with double the amount of probiotics, i.e. 10 billion microorganisms. It is especially recommended when it is a case of diarrhea due to taking antibiotics (Antibiotics Associated Diarrhea). In these cases, it is recommended to start taking the probiotic together with the antibiotic to prevent the intestinal alterations that produce the intake of this type of drugs.
Culturelle Kids Probiotic plus Complete Multivitamin
Another probiotic for children from Culturelle but in which, in addition to the probiotic, the product contains a mixture of vitamins and minerals. They are chewable tablets with a similar concentration of 5 billion cfu of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG per tablet, but also contain Vitamin A, C, D, E, B6, B12, Folic Acid, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Iodine and Zinc. Like all vitamins (except D) they must be supplied to the body through the diet or this type of supplement since our body does not have the capacity to synthesize them as it happens with the minerals such as iodine or zinc, which are involved in numerous metabolic reactions.
Culturelle probiotic for Kids – Immune Defense, Probiotic + Elderberry, Vitamin C and Zinc
This prebiotic for children from Culturelle also has 5 billion cfu of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG but adds to the formula the presence of Vitamin C and Elderberry or sambucus nigra. Elderberry is a source of vitamins, proteins, minerals and antioxidants (2)
It also has zinc, which, as we have already mentioned, is a mineral that is part of numerous vital metabolic reactions.
Culturelle Kids Probiotic + Fiber
In this presentation, it is a probiotic for children with a lower amount of probiotic (2.5 billion cfu instead of 5 billion Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG) but that compensates it with Inulin, a prebiotic that is a fiber that when it reaches the colon acts as a substrate for the proliferation of the native bacteria of the microbiota or intestinal flora.
It has numerous comments written by its consumers. All of them very positive.
BioGaia Protectis Probiotics Drops 5ml (2 Pack)
Product with a single probiotic strain: Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 that creates a natural balance in the kid’s intestine. Each daily dose (5 drops) provides 100 million cfu of Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938, a species that was first identified in breast milk.
Given precisely that origin, breast milk, this bacterium has been extensively studied and has a large number of clinical trials conducted in children. The Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 strain (also known as Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis ®) is one of the strains of choice in the treatment of diarrhea in kids (3) (4) (5), with numerous studies, and in fact it is also one of the few probiotics that the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) recommends, along with rehydration therapy, in the treatment of acute diarrhea in kids.
Furthermore, one of the pathologies in which Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 has been studied the most is in the treatment of infantile colic (6)(7). The results showed a lower percentage of pain, which was manifested by a shorter duration of the child’s crying. Similarly, studies on abdominal pain and swelling also reflect the positive effect of Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 (8)
It is therefore a very studied and safe probiotic. Highly recommended for children with the above-mentioned symptoms and to stabilize the intestinal flora.
Olly Gummies Probiotics for kids + Prebiotics
Probiotic with a single strain of the species Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856. It has a total of 500 million cfu of this bacteria.
It is presented in the form of gummies which makes it easy to administer in kids.
Bacillus coagulans has beneficial properties for the digestive system. It reduces symptoms of gas after meals (9) and improves symptoms of pain and diarrhea in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (10).
It also has properties to strengthen the immune system. In a study of children comparing Bacillus coagulans to a placebo, a lower incidence of nasal congestion, itching, eye redness, and headache was demonstrated in those taking the probiotic, confirming the beneficial effects in treating immune-related infections (11).
In the particular case of MTCC 5856 strain containing Olly Probiotics, a study conducted with it concluded that it is a safe and effective microorganism to fight diarrhea, especially in cases of irritable bowel syndrome (12)
This product also contains FOS (Fructooligosaccharides) as a prebiotic component.
Olly is an American company specialized in producing products with vitamins, minerals and supplements. It was recently acquired by the multinational Unilever.
It has a lot of comments written by its consumers. All of them very positive
OLLY Probiotics for Kids – Gummies Multivitamin
Olly also has other probiotics for kids that are similar to the above. It differs from it in the amount of Bacillus cogulans MTCC5856 it has (250 million cfu) and in that this product provides a vitamin and mineral complex very complete: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Choline, Folic Acid, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Iodine and Zinc.
Like other Olly probiotics, it has many very positive comments, made by its consumers.
365 Everyday Value, Kid’s Gummies Probiotic
Probiotic similar to Olly probiotics, as they have the same probiotic strain, Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856 but in a higher amount as each gummy contains 1 billion cfu of the probiotic Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856.
Align Probiotics for Kids Supplement – Gummies
Another probiotic with 500 million Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856. The label indicates LactoSpore ® although it is actually a registered trademark whose probiotic is the strain Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856. It is therefore a product similar to Olly probiotics.
It also has a prebiotic, Inulin, very similar to FOS which contains Olly probiotic
Lil Critters Kids Probiotics Gummies, 60 Count
Probiotic for children that also contains Bacillus coagulans although in this case it is the IS-2 strain instead of MTCC 5856. However, although it is another strain, it is the same species and has similar beneficial effects in gastrointestinal disorders according to several studies conducted against placebo (13)
This probiotic contains 1 billion Bacillus coagulans IS-2 and inulin, a prebiotic fiber that promotes the growth of microbiota or native intestinal flora.
MAV Nutrition Probiotics for Kids – Vitamins – Flora Health Support Gummies
In this case, it is another probiotic with Bacillus coagulans. The product label does not specify the strain involved. The product contains 1 billion Bacillus coagulans.
Rainbow Light Probiolicious Plus Gummies Plus
Similar product to the previous one with 1 billion cfu of Bacillus coagulans in which the strain is not specified either.
It has three prebiotics: Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), inulin and xylitol.
SmartyPants Kids Probiotic – gummies
This is another probiotic for kids in gummies form that contains the same probiotic strain, Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856 and therefore provides all the benefits already commented in Olly probiotics.
In the case of SmartyPants Kids we must add the presence of another species of the same genus Bacillus. This is the species Bacillus subtilis DE111®, a strain registered by Deerland and which has several studies on its beneficial effects on the body that confirm its efficacy in the immune system, ability to stabilize the microbiota or intestinal flora and therefore improves intestinal health (14)
The product has a total of 4 billion cfu, of which 3 billion are Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856 and 1 billion correspond to Bacillus subtilis DE111®.
The product has many very high ratings from its consumers.
Up4 Kids Probiotic Gummies | Digestive and Immune Support
Product very similar to the previous one. They are also gummies with the species Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus subtilis with a total of 1 billion beneficial bacteria.
In this case, it does not specify the strain either, only in the species. However, we know from numerous studies that both Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus subtilis provide benefits to the body, balancing the microbiota or intestinal flora while strengthening the immune system.
This product also has a prebiotic, inulin, obtained from chicory root, which promotes the growth of native intestinal flora and also has as a supplement, vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and very important in the absorption of iron and calcium.
Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Daily Probiotic Blend with 2 Strains, Natural Fruit Flavors, 50 Count
Similarly, this Zarbee’s probiotic also has the same two species of Bacillus. It contains 500 million Bacillus coagulans and 2.5 billion Bacillus subitilis. As in the previous case, the strains of these species contained in the product are not specified.
Probiotic for kids – Gummies
Probiotic in gummies for kids that contains a probiotic strain: Bacillus subtilis DE111. It has 2.5 billion of this strain, which as we have mentioned before, has shown in several studies its therapeutic and beneficial effect in the body by stabilizing the intestinal microbiota and strengthening the immune system (14)
Probiotics for Kids 100% Natural Kids Probiotic, Chewable (45 Day Supply)
Probiotic more complete than the previous ones since, besides the two species Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus subtilis, it also has Saccharomyces boulardii and Pediococcus acidilactici.
To the widely commented benefits of the species Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus subtilis, we must add Saccharomyces boulardii, a yeast recommended by the World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO) for the treatment of gastroenteritis and diarrhea as well as Pediococcus acidilactici a lactobacillus not very frequent in these products but that together with other lactobacilli has shown efficacy in problems of gastrointestinal nature (15)
In addition to the probiotics mentioned, it has digestive enzymes with amylases, proteases, lipase and cellulase, an amino acid, glutamine, very important in the maintenance of the intestinal epithelium.
The product also contains ginger root, which helps the digestive process, as well as peppermint extract which also helps the digestive process in kids (16).
Finally, it has fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a fiber that acts as a prebiotic by stimulating the growth of the indigenous microbiota in the kid’s intestine.
Digestive Advantage, Probiotic Gummy for Kids
Similar to Olly probiotics, it has the same probiotic species but a different strain: Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 at a concentration of 250 million microorganisms or bacteria in each gummy. Although it is a different strain of the same species, studies have also been carried out on it in which the evidence concludes that the probiotic effect Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 is safe and effective in reducing intestinal movements in cases of irritable bowel syndrome (17)
Nordic Naturals Probiotic Gummies Kids – Blend of Prebiotic Fiber
Another product similar to the previous ones. Bacillus coagulans gummies. In this case, the manufacturer does not specify the strain to which the species belongs.
It also contains a prebiotic, a fiber obtained from tapioca
Renzo’s Kids – Probiotic for kids
Probiotic for kids containing a total of 3 billion cfu from four species. On the one hand, the product has Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus subtilis and on the other hand, it also contains two other probiotic species, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium longum, whose joint administration has shown an improvement in the diarrhea processes with an impact on the reduction of the frequency of depositions (18).
Nature’s Way Primadophilus for kids
Recommended for children between 0 – 5 years, this is another of the most complete probiotics with a total of 3 billion cfu of 7 microorganisms, lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Primadophilus also has Vitamin C and has FOS (fructooligosaccharides) as a prebiotic.
Its formula contains, among others, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium infantis, the latter being very important in babies who are being fed formula milk as this bacterium is present in breast milk and must be fed during lactation.
L. rhamnosus is associated with the treatment of diarrhea in kids, as is the combination of Bifidobacterium infantis with Lactobacillus acidophilus with studies concluding that co-administration reduces diarrhea episodes (19). Another component, Lactobacillus casei, has also been shown to reduce diarrhea in kids (20).
For their part, the four species of bifidobacteria that this product has: B. infantis, B. bifidum, B. breve and B. longum have demonstrated a reduction in the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis in premature children where there is a greater possibility of suffering this pathology (21). However, in these cases it is necessary to consult the pediatrician before administration.
Finally, this probiotic contains Vitamin C, which is very important for its antioxidant properties and its intermediation in the absorption of iron.
Nature’s Way Primadophilus Kids, 3 Billion, 60 Chewables
Recommended for children over 2 years old. They are chewable tablets with cherry flavor
It has a total of 3 billion cfu of three of the most common probiotics in these products: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium bifidum.
These are very specific strains of each species from the renowned firm Danisco (Dupont) with numerous studies and clinical trials behind them. They are also strains included in the QPS list (safe microorganisms) of the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and are also GRAS by the American FDA.
In the particular case of Lactobacillus acidophilus La-4 and Lactobacillus plantarum Lp-115 they have shown great resistance to gastric acids and bile, which gives them a greater capacity to cross the extremely acidic area of the stomach and reach the intestinal area. Also, these strains in particular have shown an ability to increase the immune response to certain vaccines tested in clinical trials (22)(23).
The Bifidobacterium bifidum Bb-02 strain, administered with Lactobacillus, may contribute to a reduction in the symptoms of diarrhea in children (24).
PediaKid – Gummies and Sachets
Pediakid is the line of kid’s products from the French laboratory Ineldea, a company with almost 20 years dedicated to health products. Within its wide catalog of children’s products, there are two presentations of probiotics for children: in sachets and in gummies.
It is recommended from 3 years old.
Both presentations contain the same composition of probiotic microorganisms, although in different quantities. The jelly beans each have 1 billion cfu and the sachets each have 10 times more, that is, 10 billion cfu of Lactobacilus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum and Streptococcus thermophilus.
L. acidophilus is associated with the treatment of diarrhea, constipation, as well as the enhancement of the immune system. L. plantarum has shown positive effects in the treatment of symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and improved iron absorption. Finally, the “arch-known” L. rhamnosus, one of the most studied microorganisms with almost a thousand studies and several hundreds of clinical trials that support its beneficial effects in the treatment of diarrhea, integrity of intestinal epithelium, as well as its positive effect on the immune system.
Another difference is the presence of some components in the presentation in envelopes that are not in the jelly beans: PediaKid Probiotics Sachets also have inulin (prebiotic) and Zinc, the presentation in jelly beans has neither of these two. Zinc is a fundamental mineral in the organism because it is involved in numerous metabolic processes and intervenes in as many enzymatic processes. On the other hand, Inulin, as we have already mentioned, is a prebiotic that favors the growth of the native microbiota.
NaturesPlus Animal Parade Source of Life Chewable Inner Ear Support
Although this product contains 2 billion cfu of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, what really sets it apart from the rest is the presence of 1 billion cfu of Streptococcus salivarius K12 (not to be confused with Lactobacillus salivarius). This is a very rare probiotic in other probiotic products for kids and very important for its relationship to the health of the oral cavity, throat and ear.
Although we usually relate the intake of probiotics to intestinal health, this microorganism Streptococcus salivarius is naturally present in the oral cavity and its presence there, specifically the K12 strain, is related to the health and balance of the oral microbiota. The problem is that the concentration at which this bacterium is usually found is not high enough to produce healthy effects, hence the need to provide this microorganism with an additional supplement.
In a study carried out based on tests and existing literature on this microorganism, it was identified that this probiotic is related to the health of the throat, mouth and ears, reducing the severity of serous otitis media. It also has a therapeutic effect in the prevention of streptococcal or viral pharyngo-tonsillitis in kids (25).
PRO-Kids ENT: Children’s Oral Probiotics (Chewable & Sugar Free)
Another probiotic for kids that also contains the K12 strain of Streptococcus salivarius which, as mentioned before, has a beneficial and therapeutic effect in the prevention of tonsillitis.
This probiotic also contains another strain, Streptococcus salivarius M18, with studies confirming how its administration increases the possibilities of reducing the presence and development of dental caries in kids (26)
Probiotic Pixies Kids – Nordic Naturals
Probiotic with two of the most common bacteria among probiotics: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium lactis BL-04. Unlike some probiotics, in this case they do mention the two particular strains that the product has. In total, the amount of cfu in this presentation is 3 billion viable cells (cfu).
From L. rhamnosus we have already commented everything. In particular, this GG strain is one of the most studied and with which more clinical trials have been carried out. It is highly resistant to gastric juices and can be guaranteed to reach the intestine, which is its destination. It adheres to the intestinal epithelium which it protects by preventing pathogenic bacteria from doing so. Stimulates the immune system. L. rhamnosus is very effective in the treatment of diarrhea in kids as has been shown by numerous studies.
For its part, Bifidobacterium lactis BL-04 is also a well-studied probiotic, especially the stimulation of the immune system and its impact on gastrointestinal function. It is a stabilizer of the intestinal microbiota and also has beneficial effects on diarrhea associated with antibiotics.
Very easy to take, you put the powder directly on the tongue and let it melt. Do not dissolve in water. Do not take in children under 3 years.
OptiBac Probiotics for Babies & Children
Excellent product with a combination of a prebiotic, fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and three strains of probiotics, specially selected and clinically tested in babies and young children.
It contains 3 billion viable cells of Bifidobacterium infantis Rosell-33, Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52 (also known as Lactobacillus helveticus Rosell-52) and Bifidobacterium bifidum Rosell-71. The manufacturer guarantees this quantity until the expiration date of the product, something that not all manufacturers can guarantee.
This combination of these three strains in particular has been on the market for almost 20 years, under different trade names, and on which numerous clinical studies have been carried out in children demonstrating its effectiveness in the treatment of diarrhea, both that caused by rotavirus (27) and other diarrheas (28), in the immune system through an increase in secretory IgA (29) as well as a lower incidence of symptoms in children when dealing with common winter pathologies in the throat, nose or ears as well as other disorders (30).
It is indicated for babies, children of all ages, up to 12 years old. Easy to take, just mix with some food or drink.
It is also gluten-free, so it can be taken by children with gluten sensitivity.
Probiotic with 1 billion viable cells from three strains not very common in these products: Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, Bifidobacterium longum MM-2.
The combined administration of these three bacteria has a positive effect in the treatment of rhinitis with a reduction of nasal congestion, as demonstrated in a study conducted with these three strains (31)
According to a 2017 study, the Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1 strain reduces gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus (32).
Another similar study, but with the combination of L. gasseri and B. longum compared to the administration of another probiotic, showed positive results with a reduction in the duration of diarrhea (33).
Probiotics for kids with Prebiotics, Sunfiber and Fos
One of the probiotics for children with the highest amount of microorganisms and in very easy to take chewable tablets. It contains 6 billion viable cells of two species: Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus acidophilus. Both are common microorganisms in probiotics for children.
L. acidophilus produces lactic acid at the intestinal level creating a hostile environment for pathogenic microorganisms in a way that inhibits their growth. It is capable of fermenting lactose, making it also beneficial for lactose intolerant people (34).
B. lactis, on the other hand, has the capacity to inhibit the toxic effects of gliadin, one of the proteins that form in gluten, which can diminish the negative effects that it produces in people with sensitivity to gluten (35).
Both the species L. acidophilus and B. lactis have more beneficial properties but these depend on the specific strain. In this case it cannot be determined as the manufacturer does not state on the label which particular strain the product has for these two species.
It has two prebiotics, fructooligosaccharides (FOS) but unlike other similar products, this one also has a pre-formulated prebiotic called Sunfiber® which is derived from guar gum. Sunfiber® is a fiber that regulates the speed in the gastrointestinal tract for both constipation and diarrhea in kids.
It should not be administered in children under 3 years old.
Probiotic for children with 3 billion probiotic microorganisms from four species of beneficial bacteria: Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium infantis and Bifidobacterium lactis.
It has fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a prebiotic that act as a substrate for microorganisms that exist in the intestine.
Its probiotic microorganisms and combinations of them make it suitable for the treatment of diarrhea and other intestinal disorders.
It contains Bifidobacterium infantis and Lactobacillus acidophilus with studies concluding that its administration in combination reduces diarrhea episodes (36). The formula also includes Lactobacillus plantarum which acts by reducing diarrhea associated with antibiotics (37).
On the other hand, its formula also includes Bifidobacterium lactis with several studies that confirm its capacity for the stabilization of the microbiota or intestinal flora during a treatment with antibiotics (38)
Probiotics for Kids
Product very similar to the previous one. It also has 3000 million cfu of the same species Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium infantis and Bifidobacterium lactis but it also contains Lactobacillus reuteri, one of the most studied species in the treatment of diarrhea in kids.
The formula also includes Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that, as a vitamin, must be ingested through the diet or in supplements of this type.
LoveBug Probiotics Kids’ Probiotics, Immune and Digestive Health Probiotic
Probiotic for kids with 3 billion of 5 probiotic species. Among them, Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus reuteri with their well-known therapeutic activity in the treatment of diarrhea
It has Bifidobacterium infantis, a bacteria present in breast milk that your baby may lack if you bottle-feed him.
The LoveBug probiotic formula also contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a strain already discussed as it is one of the most well known for the many studies and trials conducted with it in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea and infections in the gastrointestinal tract.
The presence of Bifidobacaterium lactis is important for its capacity to stabilize the microbiota or intestinal flora, as well as for the treatment of diarrhea associated with antibiotics (38).
LoveBug Probiotics for Kids Immune Support
Probiotic for kids very similar to the previous one in terms of its formula but it differs from it in that it has 10 billion probiotic bacteria and it also has one more species in its formula: Lactobacillus acidophilus, which together with Lactobacillus plantarum Lp-115 have shown an ability to increase the immune response (22)(23).
This Lactobacillus acidophilus has shown its capacity to reduce diarrhea episodes when administered together with Bifidobacterium infantis, also included in its formula (19)
Other probiotics with a similar composition and similar properties