Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Especially in the winter months, it is important to have a healthy and well-functioning immune system. In addition to adults, children in particular tend to catch colds and get sick during the cold season.

For this reason, it is important to strengthen their defences during these months. Since an important part of the immune system is located in our intestines, it is beneficial to strengthen it by adding probiotic cultures.

We are pleased that you have found your way to our great probiotics for children test 2021. We will provide you with all the information you need about probiotics for children. We hope that this article will give you a good overview of the effects, areas of application and dosage recommendations of probiotics for children.




Summary

  • Probiotics for children are living microorganisms (bacteria and yeasts) that are especially suitable for children. They have the reputation of having positive effects on health and especially on that of the intestine.
  • In order to have a probiotic effect, the bacteria must be taken orally, must reach the intestine as alive as possible and must not be pathogenic, harmful bacteria.
  • The probiotic microorganisms are either added to various foods or can be bought as individual food supplements. Probiotics for children are available as tablets or capsules, drops and in powder form.

The Best Probiotics For Children: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for probiotics for children

When buying probiotics for children, you can look at various aspects, such as:

By making the right choice for you, you can save money and also ensure that you don't give your body anything it doesn't need. Therefore, always look for high quality and ask to see the manufacturer's certificates if necessary.

Ingredients

When it comes to ingredients, a distinction should be made between probiotic cultures that are used as additives in certain foods and those that can be bought as food supplements. Probiotics in food mainly contain the following bacterial strains:

  • Bifidobacteria
  • Lactobacillus

These cultures are also found in the human intestine as lactic acid bacteria. In addition, there are numerous probiotics as food supplements that are offered especially for children.

In probiotic food supplements as well as in probiotics contained in food, there are not only individual bacterial strains, but usually also mixtures of different strains. An exemplary composition of the probiotic cultures in such a food supplement looks as follows:

  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Streptococcus thermophilus

In addition, some probiotic cultures also have the prebiotic inulin mixed in. It serves as dietary fibre for the human body.

Mode of application

Probiotics are usually offered for oral intake, but there are also probiotics that are suitable for external use. Similar to our intestines, our skin is also colonised with probiotic bacteria.

To restore the bacterial balance of the skin, it can therefore be useful to use probiotics for the skin.

For this purpose, you should mix a teaspoon of the probiotic in powder form with a small amount of water for your child and then apply this mixture to the corresponding irritated skin area.

Dosage

The dosage of probiotics for children depends on whether you decide to buy a probiotic in powder or liquid form or as a tablet/capsule.

In the following, we have selected the appropriate dosage recommendation for each dosage form (these are general recommendations, always follow the recommendations on the package insert of your product):

  • Powder: Probiotics in powder form are often offered either in small portion sizes of 5 g or in a uniform form including a dosage spoon. This makes the preparations very easy to dose. Your child dissolves one dosage spoonful of probiotic powder per day in a glass of liquid either before or after a meal and then drinks it. After a few weeks, the dosage can be increased to 2 doses per day.
  • Drops: Your child should take about 15 to 20 drops (0.5 ml) of the probiotic daily. Either drop it directly into your child's mouth or mix it with a glass of water.
  • Tablets / capsules: Tablets or capsules are relatively easy to dose compared to drops. The recommended dosage is one tablet/capsule per day, depending on the child's weight.

Package sizes

Similar to the dosage, there are big differences between the different dosage forms of probiotics for children. To give you an overview, we have listed the most common pack sizes depending on the dosage form:

Product type pack sizes
Powder 60 g, 90 g, 150 g, 180 g
Drops 5 ml, 10 ml, 50 ml, 100 ml
Tablets / capsules 60 pcs, 90 pcs, 100 pcs, 180 pcs

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying probiotics for children

In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of probiotics for children and to give you an understanding of the current state of science, we have summarised all the important information in the following sections.

What are probiotics for children and how do they work?

Probiotics are active or inactive gut-friendly microorganisms. If your child suffers from a certain intestinal disease, for example, you should use probiotics that are especially suitable for children.

These are strains of bacteria that have also been developed for children's intestinal flora and are therefore compatible with the child's organism.

Probiotika für Kinder-1

For children, it is particularly useful during antibiotic therapy to take probiotic cultures to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhoea
(Image source: Ben White / Unsplash).

In terms of the mechanism of action, you should first know that our intestines are colonised by quite a large amount of microorganisms (around 1,000,000,000 bacteria). The probiotic bacteria contained therein ensure, among other things, that the immune system in the intestinal mucosa is activated. (6)

The exact mechanism of action is still very insufficiently researched. The problem lies above all in the fact that there are some probiotic bacterial strains that have been proven to have health-promoting properties, while other strains have not yet been identified.

Preventive effect against infections

Especially during the winter months, it is advisable to strengthen the immune system as a preventive measure. For this purpose, there are also specially developed probiotics that, in addition to probiotic cultures, also contain vitamins and vital substances such as zinc, biotin, vitamin B12 and vitamin C to additionally support the immune system in the prevention of infections.

There are some studies that have proven the positive effect of probiotics on the immune system in the intestinal mucosa. (6, 7)

Effect on diarrhoea

There are several studies that have shown that probiotics can promote the healing process in infectious diarrhoeal diseases. (5) Especially in the case of virus-related diarrhoea in children, probiotics proved to be extremely effective and were able to shorten the duration of the illness. (8)

Effect on allergies and atopic eczema

Scientific studies have shown that the children of women who had already taken probiotics during their pregnancy were much less likely to suffer from atopic eczema in their first two years of life. (9, 10)

However, no positive effects of probiotic therapy against allergy-related diseases such as asthma, rhinitis and conjunctivitis were found.

When does it make sense for children to take probiotics?

Since after the use of antibiotics not only disease-causing bacteria but also the "good" intestinal bacteria (e.g. lactic acid bacteria) are destroyed, your child's intestinal flora should definitely be rebuilt.

It makes sense to rebuild the child's intestinal flora especially after or during the intake of antibiotics.

Our intestines contain an important part of our immune system: the intestinal flora ensures, among other things, that harmful and pathogenic germs are destroyed. However, this important protective barrier is destroyed after taking antibiotics, and there is a risk that your child can get sick again with an infection.

The additional supply of probiotic cultures rebuilds the natural protective barrier in the intestine and strengthens the immune system. (1, 6) In addition, the body's own lactic acid bacteria in the intestine also ensure that vitamins, such as vitamin B12, are produced and that minerals and trace elements from the food enter the bloodstream.

How long should your child take a probiotic?

The length of time children should take probiotics depends on the symptoms and the individual condition of the child. As a rule, probiotics are taken for about 4 to 12 weeks.

If your child is currently receiving antibiotic therapy, it is also possible to take probiotics to accompany the therapy. The minimum period of intake should be about 3 weeks. (2)

When you are finished with your antibiotic therapy, continue to take the probiotic for a certain period of time.

In the case of irritable bowel syndrome, it is even recommended to take probiotics for up to 8 weeks. (3)

According to a meta-analysis from 2012, it was found that a probiotic intake of 3 to 4 weeks was less effective for gastrointestinal complaints than a long-term intake (at least 9 to 240 weeks). (4) These results could show that long-term therapies are also possible when taking probiotic cultures.

What do probiotics for children cost?

To get an overview of the prices of probiotics for children, we have summarised a table with all the important price information below:

type price
powder approx. 9 to 96 euros/100 grams
drops approx. 11 to 202 euros/100 millilitres
capsules approx. 0.11 to 0.92 euros/piece

What types of probiotics are there for children?

As already explained in the previous chapter "Buying and evaluation criteria", there are three different dosage forms of probiotics for children:

  • Powder
  • Tablets / Capsules
  • Drops

We will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each type in more detail in the next few paragraphs.

Powder

The big advantage of probiotics for children in powder form is that it can be dosed individually. The loose form allows you to give your child an individual amount of probiotic cultures in consultation with the family doctor or paediatrician. In addition, it is also possible to start with a small amount of probiotic and then increase the dose over time.

Another advantage is that the powder can be dissolved in fruit juices or other liquids in addition to water. This makes it easier for the child to take the powder, as fruit juices, for example, can mask the powder's own taste. Last but not least, the powder is also suitable for application on the skin.

Advantages
  • Individual dosage possible
  • dissolution in fruit juices makes it easier for the child to take
  • application on the skin possible
Disadvantages
  • unwieldy for travelling
  • often contains additives

A big disadvantage of the powder is that it is very difficult to take on the go, i.e. you always have to make sure you have enough liquid and a dosing spoon with you.

Furthermore, it often happens with food supplements in powder form that they are made more durable by additives. If you still decide to take a probiotic in powder form, be sure to check the ingredients.

Capsules / tablets

The advantage of probiotics in capsule or tablet form is that, unlike powder and drops, they contain a fixed dose of probiotic cultures. This makes them very easy to dose.

Capsules are usually dosed according to weight, i.e. depending on how heavy your child is, he or she gets a corresponding amount of capsules. This makes capsules and tablets also very suitable for on the go.

Another advantage is that capsules and tablets are cheaper than probiotics for children in powder or liquid form. When comparing capsules and tablets, capsules also have the advantage that they have much more living bacteria than tablets.

In addition, additives are also added to tablets because of their better shelf life.

Advantages
  • easy to dose
  • good suitability for on the go
  • cheap
Disadvantages
  • delayed onset of action
  • difficult to take capsules due to their size
  • partly made of animal gelatine

A big disadvantage of capsules and tablets is that they have to dissolve in your child's body before the bacteria are released. However, since there are some capsules that have an acid-resistant layer, they cannot be broken open by the stomach acid and the onset of action is thus delayed.

Especially with capsules, there is the problem that some children cannot swallow them properly because of their size. Another disadvantage is that some capsules are made of gelatine, which makes them unsuitable for vegans.

Drops

Similar to a probiotic in powder form, these can be individually dosed as drops. Another advantage is that, compared to powder, drops do not need any additional liquid to be taken. You can simply drop the required number of drops directly into your child's mouth.

Advantages
  • Individual dosage
  • easy to take
Disadvantages
  • possible breaking of the glass bottle
  • sometimes unpleasant taste

Since mostly glass bottles are used for probiotics in drop form, it can happen that the glass bottles break, especially when living with children. Furthermore, probiotics in drop form sometimes have a very unpleasant taste, which can be very unappetising, especially for children.

To prevent this, you can drop the drops into a glass of fruit juice to drown out the taste.

What are the alternatives to probiotics for children?

In addition to probiotic supplements, there are of course foods that have probiotic cultures added to them or foods that naturally contain probiotics. Below we have compiled a list of probiotic foods for you:

  • Yoghurt: Yoghurt is made from milk, which is fermented by lactic acid bacteria. For this reason, natural yoghurt is the ideal source of probiotics.
  • Kefir: Kefir is made from either cow's, sheep's or goat's milk. A special yeast fungus is added to the milk, resulting in the aromatic kefir drink.
  • Sauerkraut: It is produced by a fermentation process of white or pointed cabbage pickled with salt and lactic acid bacteria. It should be noted that the lactic acid bacteria are only present in fresh sauerkraut. In tinned sauerkraut, the bacteria have already been "cooked to death".
  • Miso (Japanese spice paste): It is usually made from soybeans, rice or grain. During its ripening period, it is ultimately the lactic acid bacteria that ensure that the paste ferments and acquires its spicy flavour.
  • Kombucha (fermented tea): Kombucha is made from black tea, sugar and a special kombucha fungus. Here too, lactic acid bacteria play a leading role in the fermentation process.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples. In this process, the harvested apples are first turned into apple cider and then, in a later process, into apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar also contains lactic acid bacteria.

Probiotika für Kinder2

The delicious tea drink "Kombucha" naturally contains many probiotic cultures through a fermentation process
(Image source: Tim-Oliver Metz / Unsplash).

What are the side effects of probiotics for children?

Unfortunately, there are hardly any studies on the side effects of probiotics for children, so we cannot answer this question exactly. However, it can be said that a moderate intake of probiotic foods should be harmless for a healthy organism.

However, if your child suffers from a certain illness, it is essential to discuss the intake of probiotics with your family doctor or paediatrician beforehand!

Where do I store probiotics for children?

Although probiotics are generally not sensitive to heat, it is advisable to store them in the refrigerator, especially if they are in liquid form. It is best to make sure that you store the preparation in a place in the fridge where your child cannot reach it. This will ensure that your child takes the right dose of probiotic cultures every day.

Image source: Amikishiyev / 123rf

References (10)

1. Chaudhri, Rizwana. (2019). Comparison of combined probiotic and antibiotic therapy versus antibiotic therapy alone in treatment of bacterial vaginosis. JSOGP 2017. 7. 57-60.
Source

2. Hempel S, Newberry SJ, Maher AR, et al. Probiotics for the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2012;307(18):1959-1969. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3507
Source

3. Zhang Y, Li L, Guo C, et al. Effects of probiotic type, dose and treatment duration on irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed by Rome III criteria: a meta-analysis. BMC Gastroenterol. 2016;16(1):62. Published 2016 Jun 13. doi:10.1186/s12876-016-0470-z
Source

4. Ritchie ML, Romanuk TN. A meta-analysis of probiotic efficacy for gastrointestinal diseases. PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34938. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034938
Source

5. Wilkins T, Sequoia J. Probiotics for Gastrointestinal Conditions: A Summary of the Evidence. Am Fam Physician. 2017;96(3):170-178.
Source

6. La Fata G, Weber P, Mohajeri MH. Probiotics and the Gut Immune System: Indirect Regulation. Probiotics Antimicrob Proteins. 2018;10(1):11-21. doi:10.1007/s12602-017-9322-6
Source

7. Ashraf R, Shah NP. Immune system stimulation by probiotic microorganisms. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(7):938-956. doi:10.1080/10408398.2011.619671
Source

8. do Carmo MS , Santos CID , Araújo MC , Girón JA , Fernandes ES , Monteiro-Neto V . Probiotics, mechanisms of action, and clinical perspectives for diarrhea management in children. Food Funct. 2018;9(10):5074-5095. doi:10.1039/c8fo00376a
Source

9. Schmidt RM, Pilmann Laursen R, Bruun S, et al. Probiotics in late infancy reduce the incidence of eczema: A randomized controlled trial. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2019;30(3):335-340. doi:10.1111/pai.13018
Source

10. Cuello-Garcia CA, Brożek JL, Fiocchi A, et al. Probiotics for the prevention of allergy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015;136(4):952-961. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2015.04.031
Source

klinische Studie
Chaudhri, Rizwana. (2019). Comparison of combined probiotic and antibiotic therapy versus antibiotic therapy alone in treatment of bacterial vaginosis. JSOGP 2017. 7. 57-60.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
Hempel S, Newberry SJ, Maher AR, et al. Probiotics for the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2012;307(18):1959-1969. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3507
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
Zhang Y, Li L, Guo C, et al. Effects of probiotic type, dose and treatment duration on irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed by Rome III criteria: a meta-analysis. BMC Gastroenterol. 2016;16(1):62. Published 2016 Jun 13. doi:10.1186/s12876-016-0470-z
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
Ritchie ML, Romanuk TN. A meta-analysis of probiotic efficacy for gastrointestinal diseases. PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34938. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034938
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Wilkins T, Sequoia J. Probiotics for Gastrointestinal Conditions: A Summary of the Evidence. Am Fam Physician. 2017;96(3):170-178.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
La Fata G, Weber P, Mohajeri MH. Probiotics and the Gut Immune System: Indirect Regulation. Probiotics Antimicrob Proteins. 2018;10(1):11-21. doi:10.1007/s12602-017-9322-6
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Ashraf R, Shah NP. Immune system stimulation by probiotic microorganisms. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(7):938-956. doi:10.1080/10408398.2011.619671
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
do Carmo MS , Santos CID , Araújo MC , Girón JA , Fernandes ES , Monteiro-Neto V . Probiotics, mechanisms of action, and clinical perspectives for diarrhea management in children. Food Funct. 2018;9(10):5074-5095. doi:10.1039/c8fo00376a
Go to source
klinische Studie
Schmidt RM, Pilmann Laursen R, Bruun S, et al. Probiotics in late infancy reduce the incidence of eczema: A randomized controlled trial. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2019;30(3):335-340. doi:10.1111/pai.13018
Go to source
wissenschaftliche Untersuchung
Cuello-Garcia CA, Brożek JL, Fiocchi A, et al. Probiotics for the prevention of allergy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015;136(4):952-961. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2015.04.031
Go to source
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