When we see articles or advertisements about probiotics, typically they only refer to adults. But what about kids? Have you ever considered adding these “healthy bugs” to your child’s diet too? Probiotics add another layer of good microorganisms to the already existing ones, so they can be very beneficial to not only adults, but kids too. It is important to focus on children’s microbiomes because supporting the right bacterial balance now creates a solid foundation for the future. When the ratio of good bacteria to bad is altered—for example, after your child takes antibiotics—probiotics can help get their gut back on track by replenishing the microbiome with good bacteria. If your child has an ear infection or diarrhea, taking a probiotic may actually help to lessen symptoms. Gut health is key for supporting overall health at all ages, but the early years are most important for developing a healthy and balanced gut microbiome.
The number one concern of most parents when deciding whether they should give their child a probiotic supplement is to know if it is safe. Generally speaking, probiotics are safe for kids unless your child has a compromised immune system or is a premature infant. If that is the case, taking probiotics may expose them to infection.
Another factor to consider when looking for a probiotic for your child is whether or not it is supported by clinical studies. For example, the three biocompatible human strains in the Kyo-Dophilus line of probiotics, called The Friendly Trio, have been the subject of clinical studies that have documented the efficacy of these strains to support a healthy gut microbiome.1
Signs your child might need a probiotic
They take antibiotics: Sometimes there is no getting around taking an antibiotic, whether it’s for an infection or a skin rash. While the antibiotic helps fight the infection, it also diminishes the resilience and diversity of your child’s gut flora. A quick rule of thumb is to take your probiotic two hours before or two hours after taking your antibiotic. This will give sufficient time for the antibiotic to work, while not killing off beneficial bacteria.
There is a history of allergies: Children who have a parent/brother/sister affected by allergies such as hay fever, eczema, or asthma are twice as likely to develop allergies themselves compared to children without a family history of allergies. Taking a probiotic may help reduce a child’s likelihood of allergies by aiding the maturation of the immune system and reducing the risk of allergic reaction.2
They keep catching colds: More than 70 percent of the body’s immune cells are found in the gut, where they strengthen resistance against infections and help fight off illness-causing organisms.3 Giving your child a probiotic may help reduce their risk of experiencing upper respiratory tract infections like colds.
How to pick a probiotic for your child
Probiotics are available in capsules, tablets, liquids, powders, and even gummies, each containing a specific type of probiotic blend. So, which is best? Getting your kid to actually take the probiotic every day is the first challenge, so find a format that you think they will accept. Chewables are typically easiest to consume. Make sure your child will like (or tolerate) the flavor! Also check to make sure the probiotics don’t have added sugar or contain allergens (like dairy or soy products).
When deciding on a probiotic for your child, read the supplement facts table to see which strains are used. Some strains are more beneficial than others and some are known to support specific conditions. Lactobacillus gasseri, for example, is a well-studied bacterium that may help people with lactose intolerance to better digest dairy foods. It can also help prevent indigestion and diarrhea, as well as yeast infections. Other established strains include Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium longum, which both enhance and strengthen immunity.4
If you are looking for a probiotic supplement backed by clinical studies, you should consider the Kyo-Dophilus Kids probiotic. Kyo-Dophilus Kids Probiotic provides one billion live cells of L. gasseri, B. bifidum, and B. longum for digestion and immune health, and is also free of GMOs, dairy, sodium, yeast, gluten, preservatives, and artificial colors. It is a great “first probiotic” to introduce into your child’s diet.
Since its establishment in 1972, Wakunaga of America Co., LTD has played a unique role in promoting consumer health worldwide through the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of high quality medicinal herbs and dietary supplements. The corporate philosophy of Wakunaga centers on a commitment to research and a mission to serve public health. This mission is accomplished by providing products of the highest quality, which are supported by science. Brands include Kyolic AGE, Kyo-Dophilus Probiotics and Kyo-Green Superfoods.
- Spaiser SJ, Culpepper T, Nieves C Jr, Ukhanova M, Mai V, Percival SS, Christman MC, Langkamp-Henken B. Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and Bifidobacterium longum MM-2 ingestion induces a less inflammatory cytokine profile and a potentially beneficial shift in gut microbiota. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015;34(6):459-69. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07315724.2014.983249)