What are the Benefits of Probiotics for Children?

What are the Benefits of Probiotics for Children?

If you’ve heard a few things about the benefits of probiotics for kids, it’s understandable that you’d have questions about how they can help your child. Below, we’ll answer some common questions that can help you make a decision about whether probiotics are right for your child.

What Are Probiotics and What are the Benefits of Probiotics for Kids?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed, offer health benefits. Large numbers of these microorganisms already exist in our bodies. In fact, in adults there are 10 times more microorganisms than human cells in the digestive tract.

From the moment we’re born, we develop a unique bacterial ecosystem – also known as the microbiome – in our bodies. The microbiome develops based on factors such as genetics, diet, hygiene, environment, and gender, and this ecosystem changes based on events in our lives such as illness, stress, and diet changes. The biggest changes to our microbiome occur during childhood. During this period the shifts in the microbiome can cause effects that last for years, or potentially the rest of a person’s life.

In order to minimize disruptions to a child’s microbiome, which can be caused by common issues such as illness or stress, parents can consider several approaches, including changes to diet, more exercise, and/or more relaxation to reduce stress. Another option may be to add a daily probiotic for kids to fortify their digestive system with healthy bacteria, so that digestive concerns aren’t a daily worry.

Are Probiotics Safe for Children?

Probiotics are considered safe for the generally healthy population. That being said, you and your healthcare providers know your child best. You should talk to your child’s pediatrician or your doctor before starting them on supplements of any kind. They can help guide you towards the appropriate probiotic for children based on your goals.

How Should You Choose a Probiotic for Kids?

If you’re considering a kids probiotic for your child, it’s important to remember a few things.

  • It’s the bacterial strain that determines the health benefit. This means that even if two probiotics have the same genus, they may have different strains that offer completely different health benefits to your child.
  • More is not necessarily better. Some probiotic brands offer supplements with hundreds of bacterial strains, however, clinical studies haven’t shown that multi-strain supplements are any more effective than single strain supplements. Given the variety of sources and the different individual effects of strains, it is difficult to make general recommendations about the minimum amount of bacteria needed for a health effect to occur. You may find that a single strain supplement with a lower concentration may be all your kid’s body needs to deliver the benefit you’re looking for.
  • Probiotics for children usually come in formats and flavors that make it easier for kids to take them daily. Additionally, they’re typically free from unnecessary ingredients.

What Should You Look For When Choosing The Best Probiotic for Kids?

Because of the importance of strain specificity and daily dosage, any package of probiotics labeled for kids should at a minimum, contain the following information:

Genus, Species, and Strain:

  • Remember that the strain determines the benefit, so probiotics for kids should clearly identify the strain or strains they contain.

Dosage in CFUs, Suggested Serving Size, and Expiration Date:

  • Packaging should ensure an effective level of live bacteria, through the “best by” or expiration date.

Health benefits:

  • Any claims being made about health benefits should be based on human studies conducted on the product or specific strains in the product.

Storage conditions:

  • Since they’re living microorganisms, probiotic products can lose viability if not stored properly. Some probiotics require refrigeration, while others do not. Ex:* “In the case of Align Kids, refrigeration is not required, and it can be stored at room temperature.”*

  • Corporate Contact Information:

  • This is helpful if you ever have questions or concerns for the manufacturer of a kids probiotic.

Again, we recommend talking with your child’s pediatrician before starting probiotics for children. They’ll be able to help you make decisions about which is the best kids probiotic for you and your child based on your health

Want to learn more about Align Kids Probiotic for Kids? Visit our FAQ page to see if Align Kids is right for your child.