Whether you want to support your child’s immune system, help establish gut bacteria balance or ease their irritating eczema symptoms, a probiotic supplement may help. But kid-friendly probiotics are not all created equal. There are a number of factors you should consider when choosing a probiotic for your child including the best probiotic strains to support their health needs and the most convenient format and dosage for their age and stage of development.
Different strains are for different conditions
The therapeutic properties and actions of probiotics can vary greatly from strain to strain. For example, Bifidobacterium breve (BR02 and B632) is a probiotic strain specific for babies/infants and has been demonstrated to contribute to a healthy digestive tract, immunity and the development of good bacteria.
Research suggests that the combination of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG®) and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. Lactis (BB12®) can reduce the frequency of ear symptoms in kids with and without antibiotic use,1,2 so may be appropriate to maintain ear health in your baby, toddler or older child. These strains also support gut health and immunity and can help to replenish good bacteria during and after antibiotic use.
Probiotic supplementation with Lactobacillus acidophilus (NCFM®) and Bifidobacterium lactis (Bi-07®) is immune specific, helping to reduce the frequency and duration of cold and flu symptoms in kids as well as reduce the number of days absent from school or childcare due to common colds.
The probiotic blend of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG®) and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. Lactis (BB12®) plus vitamin D is beneficial for skin health, healing and repair when sun exposure is limited. It may help to reduce the occurrence of eczema and allergy symptoms and relieve symptoms of mild eczema such as itching.
If you’re looking for a probiotic all-rounder to be used on a daily basis, you might choose a probiotic supplement with several different researched strains.
Infants and children don’t have the capacity to swallow capsules and tablets, which is why liquid drops and powders are a more appropriate probiotic format. Probiotic drops may be suitable for babies from 6 months and can be inserted into baby’s cheek or alternatively added to water, milk or food. Probiotic powders can be mixed into water, juice, milk, formula, yoghurt, smoothies or cereal. Inner Health probiotics for kids are mostly unflavoured but have a naturally sweet taste and are therefore palatable and/or easily disguised if you have a fussy eater. Inner Health Plus Kids Daily Defence is a deliciously natural strawberry flavoured probiotic and can be blended into milk (dairy or plant-based) for a strawberry milkshake kids will love.
Dosage of beneficial bacteria
When selecting a kids’ probiotic, it is important to consider the quantity of bacteria in the product. Many kid-specific probiotics you might find in the form of balls or in food may not contain a high enough dose to offer any real therapeutic health benefits for your child. Inner Health probiotics for kids are based on research and will always contain the scientifically validated dose of viable live beneficial bacteria for the best results. Make sure you follow the dosage directions on the back of the product as these may differ according to age and the health concerns you are wanting to address.
How to select the right Inner Health Probiotic supplement for your child
The following can be used as a rough guide for selecting the right Inner Health Probiotic supplement for your child according to their age and health needs. However, it’s important to note that every child is different and consulting a healthcare professional can help you determine the best product/s for their individualised requirements.
- For babies from birth to support the development of gut bacteria and immunity – Look for Inner Health Plus Baby and Kids, a powder that can be mixed into pumped breastmilk, formula or placed onto mum’s nipple before a feed.
- For babies from 6 months + to contribute to a healthy digestive tract, immunity and the development of good bacteria – Try Inner Health Plus Baby Probiotic Drops, which is specifically formulated for babies and young children.
- For bolstering immunity in children over the age of 2 – Consider Inner Health Immune Booster Kids, with specific probiotic strains to help reduce the frequency and duration of cold and flu symptoms including runny noses and coughs and decrease the days absent from school or childcare due to common colds.
- For skin health and eczema relief in children and babies over 4 + months of age – Try Inner Health Eczema Shield Kids to support skin healing and repair and reduce the occurrence of eczema and allergy symptoms.
- For supporting ear health in children from birth to 12 years – Try Inner Health Plus Baby and Kids with specific research-backed strains to support immunity and maintain ear health.
- During/after a course of antibiotics in children from birth to 12 years – Look for Inner Health Plus Baby and Kids to maintain good bacteria balance and diversity and support gut health.
- For a multi-purpose probiotic for daily use in infants and children up to 12 years – Consider Inner Health Kids. A probiotic powder that can help support the maintenance of healthy intestinal flora and general health and wellbeing.
- For a multi-purpose probiotic that can be made into a strawberry milkshake in children over 2 years – try Inner Health Kids Plus Daily Defence. A delicious natural strawberry-flavoured probiotic powder that supports gut health, immunity, ear health and maintains good bacteria after antibiotic use.
- Rautava S 2009, ‘Specific probiotics in reducing the risk of acute infections in infancy-a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study’. Br J Nutr. vol 101, no 11, pp1722-6
- Gorbach S et al 2017, ‘Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG’, The Microbiota in Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology, pp 79-88