The Best Probiotic For Children: Guidelines on Benefits, Safety and Labeling
What is the best probiotic for children?
Can a probiotic cure stomach aches in children? Without any prescription medication? I didn’t think it was possible.
In life’s lottery of allergies and digestive issues that stalk some children, we got pretty lucky, escaping only with a few issues.
But my youngest son’s stomach hurt. All the time. A dull ache, right below his rib cage. It started when he was almost four. My son went through the rounds of doctors, tests, ultrasounds, and prescription medications.
But his stomach still hurt. All the time.
After six months of doctors, hospitals, and prescription stomach and ulcer medications, nothing was better. I found two friends that said the same thing. Try a probiotic.
A pro-by-who? Where do I find one of those? Is it safe? My mother radar went up. As with my daughters, I don’t want to give my son anything that will make him glow in the dark when the temperature drops below freezing. But what was the best probiotic for children?
To put it very simply, taking a probiotic is like eating a cup of yogurt.
Probiotics are live bacteria that you ingest. Most probiotics are bacteria similar to those naturally found in people's stomachs and intestinal tracts. They are also called "friendly bacteria" or "good bacteria." A probiotic’s good bacteria helps your stomach digest food.
Probiotics are easy to take in a pill format. Many types and brands need to be refrigerated.
Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies have established that probiotic therapy can help
• treat several gastrointestinal ills
• delay the development of allergies in children
• may reduce cold and flu symptoms and duration in children
• treat and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women
What Kind of Bacteria is in a Probiotic?
The bacteria in the best probiotic for children come from two important groups:
Within each group, there are many different species such as:
• Lactobacillus acidophilus
• Lactobacillus casei
• Lactobacillus rhamnosus
• Lactobacillus reuteri
• Bifidobacterium lactis
• Bifidobacterium brevi
• Bifidobacterium bifidum
• Bifidobacterium longum
How to Read a Probiotic Label
• Bacteria strain: What types of probiotic strains are inside?
• Probiotic Bacteria: (also known as CFU: (Colony Forming Units)). How many live microorganisms are in each serving? When does it expire? The type of packaging should ensure an effective level of live bacteria through the “best by” or expiration date.
• Serving size: How much do I take?
• Other Ingredients: Do the other ingredients contain products to which I have allergies?
• Frequency: How often do I take a serving size? Do I need to take it at a certain time of day or with food?
• Health benefits: What can this product do for me?
• Proper storage conditions: Where do I keep it to ensure maximum survival of the probiotic?
• Manufacturer: Who makes this product? Where to do I go for more information?
Are Probiotics Safe?
Probiotics are generally considered safe — they’re already present in a normal digestive system — although there’s a theoretical risk for people with impaired immune function. Be sure the ingredients are clearly marked on the label and familiar to you or your health provider. There’s no way to judge the safety of unidentified mixtures.
I learned that probiotics could be the next big thing for American consumers. They already enjoy a strong presence in Europe, and are spreading in popularity in America. You may have seen them in Activa Yogurt, and in other products. You can buy them in the local natural foods market. In the tablet form, they usually need to be refrigerated, but there are shelf-stable probiotics available. Depending on complexity and number of bacteria, they can range greatly in price.
What Is the Best Probiotic for Children?
Here are some general guidelines to purchasing the best probiotic for children.
• No more than 3 billion bacteria
• Has a child-friendly way to ingest, such as a kid-flavored chewable tablet
• Watch out for a probiotic developed from milk if your child has a casein allergy or sensitivity
What do we think is the best probiotic for children? We tried several of them, but we find that Jarrow's Yum-Yum Dolphilus works great, is easy to chew, and tastes good.
Jarrow's Yum -Yum Dophilus 60Tabs
Jarrow Formulas Yum-Yum dolphilus. Sugar free chewable raspberry flavor tablets. 4 strains of bacteria in 1 billion bacteria per serving of 2 tablets. No soy, wheat, gluten, dairy egg, fish/shellfish, peanuts or tree nuts.
Click on the box to try it now at a 30% discount!
Jarrow's Jarro Dophilus Original 100Caps
Need the best probiotic for adults? Try the Jarrow Jarro-Dophilus. This came recommended to me by a gastroenterologist as an effective and reasonably priced probiotic. Each capsule of Jarro-Dophilus contains approximately 3.4 billion organisms.
Click on the jar to try it now at a 30% discount!
What You Need to Know about Ordering Probiotics on the Internet: Probiotics and Heat
Remember that body temperature is 98.6 degrees and probiotics thrive in the body. Probiotics start dying off at 112-115 degrees Fahrenheit. Since most people do not live in areas where the temperature gets well above 100 degrees, items can be shipped without a cold pack.
High quality probiotics are manufactured with the assumption that some of the organisms will be lost in transit. As a precaution, manufacturers include significantly more organisms than required so that the product maintains the advertised potency even after some organisms have been lost.
If you live in an area where the temperatures get well above 100 degrees during the summer you may want to think about paying for expedited shipping.
A Happy Ending to My Son's Story
Since I was desperate to relieve my son’s constant stomach pain, we tried a probiotic. At first I found a simple, simple probiotic at my local Whole Foods store in the vitamin section. It was a strawberry chewable, and he happily chomped it twice a day. Within 4 days, he felt MUCH better. Within a week, all the stomach aches when away.
Gone. Something that all those prescription medications couldn’t do and all those expensive tests couldn’t solve.
Turns out, my son probably got the shallow end of the family gene pool. The boys in my family seem to have an immature digestive system that just needs more time to grow, especially until they reach age 8.
As my son got older, we switched to a more complex probiotic with more bacteria, the Jarrow Yum-Yum Dolphilus probiotic, which we purchase via the internet. He takes 2 small chewable raspberry tablets once a day. And his stomach is still better. Is this the best probiotic for children?
Needless to say, I think so. And so does my son.
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