Should You Give Your Kids Probiotic Pills?

Consumer Reports asked an expert’s opinion on probiotic supplements and live culture yogurt products geared especially toward kids. There’s preliminary evidence out there that says it can help relieve infants and toddlers suffering from diarrhea caused by antibiotics or gastrointestinal illnesses. But there’s also a chance the bacteria can cause illness in infants or those with weakened immune systems.

More and better studies need to be carried out first. In the meantime, they recommend taking the more natural route: breast milk for infants and grains and produce for older children, all of which will also help the good bacteria grow in their guts. “But there’s no reason why you can’t include some live-culture yogurt in your toddler’s or older child’s diet. You may especially want to offer it to them when they are on antibiotics or suffer from diarrhea. Probiotic pills are probably also safe and possibly helpful in those circumstances, but it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor first.”

“Probiotics: Good for your kids?” [Consumer Reports]
(Photo: Getty)

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  1. louisb3 says:

    My limited understanding is that probiotics are especially helpful when you’re on antibiotics, which have the side effect of killing all the beneficial deigestive bacteria.

  2. SOhp101 says:

    Why not just eat regular yogurt? This probiotic fad is full of bs, aside from being on antibiotics like louisb3 mentioned.

  3. CompletionBackwards says:

    Are we that weak as a population? Typically, wouldn’t we become more resistant? As a child,I don’t recall anyone needing “probiotics” we got immunity from disease by having to spend time and quarters with our neighbors due to lack of the space and money not to. My parents made me try things and finish trying them. Don’t forget to finish the full prescription of ineffective antibiotics you were prescribed.

  4. Ikki says:

    …what? So live-culture yogurt is now semi-dangerous? I ate it all the time as a kid, FRESH, and I never got sick from it. Nobody I know got sick from eating it, either.

    Nation of wimps, I tell you.

  5. Crazytree says:

    I had dinner with a physician friend of mine who works in nuclear medicine.

    He claims that there is evidence that exposure to low-level radiation can kill malignant cancer cells in their infancy.

    Problem being that if this becomes popularized… people are going to be nuking themselves like crazy.

  6. ksnicholas says:

    Pro-biotics worked for my daughter. She was having repeated bouts of diarrhea that would last a week or so, and happen about once a month. None of the doctors I took her to were concerned because she was still growing, and they refused to do any testing to determine the cause. I asked about giving her acidophilus, a pro-biotic, and the doctor said it wouldn’t hurt her, but that I would be wasting my time since the bacteria would be killed by her stomach acid. I gave it to her anyway, and the diarrhea stopped within a day and has not returned.

  7. MMMMM, marketing works wonders.

  8. ErinYay says:

    I’ve been giving my dogs probiotics since he was a puppy with a tricky tummy.

    I take them myself whenever I’m forced to take antibiotics (like, for pneumonia.) Antibiotics wreak havoc on my system, and probiotics have helped normalize things super well.

  9. 5cents says:

    Mm, yes marketing. Regular yohgurt rules, no brainer. Cheese is nice too.

  10. GitEmSteveDave says:

    I eat a 8 oz cup of Breyers Light! Probiotic Plus every day. I eat that brand because A: Breyers still has 8oz servings, unlike some 6oz-ers. B: Their light is pretty darn good, and I don’t like the fruit on the bottom. and C: the probiotic just happens to be a plus.

    Since I have been eating everyday, my stomach has felt better, and I feel better too. Why take pills when you can have a nice delicious cup of yogurt?

  11. JeannieGrrl says:

    I have Crohn’s Disease and probiotics aren’t just a fad, they do work but I can’t see what good they’d do for someone with a perfectly healthy system…

  12. ExVee says:

    Probiotics aren’t dangerous, unless as already pointed out, the person eating them has a suppressed immune system, in which case you really need to talk to your doctor about whether it’d do more harm than good. My mother, for instance, has a practically compromised immune system, but eats live-culture yogurt to help her own digestive issues. It’s not a black-and-white situation, and as always in the case of kids, it’s the responsibility of the parents to learn and decide whether it’s the right choice for their child. Anyway, my sister used to swear by acidophilus milk, even when there wasn’t anything wrong with her, and I’ve had it before when I’ve had to take really strong antibiotics. Maybe I need to be on something probiotic all the time, considering how often I get my stomach bothered after eating…

  13. Trauma_Hound says:

    @SOhp101: Actually this was recommended by my doctor, because the dairy in yogurt can counter act the probiotics because cow dairy is already harder for humans to digest.