Probiotics For Children's Immunity

Probiotics For Children's Immunity

Chances are, you’ve heard of probiotics for gut health, and if your kid has tummy troubles, you may have turned to probiotics for support. But did you know that probiotics are also helpful for kids’ all-round immunity? 

It’s true. Probiotics are one of the core supplements we recommend for kids’ total immunity.

In this post, we’ll talk about how probiotics work to support the immune system and what to consider before you choose a daily probiotic for an extra boost of immunity against the viruses and other baddies that bug kids.

What Are Probiotics: Quick Recap

Probiotics are often called "good" or "friendly" bacteria because they help keep the gut healthy. They’re similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut. 

Kids can get probiotics from foods like yogurt. While yogurt is a good source and popular with kids, just watch out for the sugar! (Sugar feeds unfriendly bacteria in the gut.)

Other food sources of probiotics include kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, kombucha and miso. However, it can be a tough sell getting picky eaters to choose these probiotic foods!

More commonly, parents give kids probiotic supplements. They’re used to improve digestion and restore the natural balance of bacteria in the gut, especially after it has been disrupted, for example, by antibiotics or illness.

Why Probiotics are Important for Children's Immunity

Ok, so probiotics support gut health. But why is gut health important for kids’ immunity? The gut acts as a crucial frontline in immune defence. In fact, the gut is home to 70% of the immune system cells. (Healthy Children Org)

The gut microbiome, a community of microorganisms living in the intestine, interacts with these immune cells. The microbiome influences how the body responds to infections. A healthy gut microbiome can “teach” the immune system to respond effectively without overreacting (which is key to staying healthy).

An imbalance in gut bacteria can lead to the just the opposite: a poor immune response.

The role of probiotics in boosting the immune system

Probiotics are supplements that act like the friendly bacteria naturally found in the gut — and like those bacteria, they do a lot to support the immune system!

Probiotics grow immune cells, shape immune responses, and strengthen the gut barrier. They improve the balance of gut bacteria by increasing good bacteria and reducing bad ones. (Frontiers in Nutrition)

Research has shown that probiotics, like certain strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, can meaningfully help with a number of health issues. (Nutrients)

How probiotics can help prevent common childhood illnesses

Probiotics can help with common childhood illnesses of the gut, like diarrhea and rotavirus. (BMJ; Canadian Paediatric Society)

That makes sense because probiotics go to work in the gut. Of course, as parents, you have more viruses to worry about! Like the ones that cause colds and flu, attacking the respiratory tract.

The good news is that probiotics have been proven effective against common childhood viruses that cause respiratory tract infections. Probiotics can reduce the risk of getting sick with a virus in the first place. They can reduce the duration of illnesses caused by viruses and minimize the symptoms, so kids don’t get as sick. It even seems that probiotics can boost the effectiveness of vaccines. (Foods)

Importantly, kids taking probiotics might be less likely to need antibiotics for a respiratory infection. (Evidently Cochrane) Fewer antibiotics can mean a healthier gut naturally! When your child can avoid illnesses that need treatment with antibiotics, they can build that healthy gut microbiome and strong immunity.

Are probiotics safe for kids?

Probiotics are considered safe for healthy kids. (Acta Paediatrica; WebMD) Talk to your doctor about giving your child probiotics if they are immunocompromised or seriously ill.

Choosing the Right Probiotic for Your Child

There are many types of probiotics, so research the type of probiotic you’re considering for your child. Here are a few things to consider:

Probiotic strain

The strain of the probiotic is essential. It should be specific to the child's health needs. For instance, some strains are better for digestion, while others may help with immune function. 

Key ingredients in children's probiotic supplements include strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are well-studied and generally considered safe for children. 

CFUs (live bacteria per dose)

Probiotic “strength” is measured by the number of live bacteria in each dose, known as the colony-forming unit (CFU) count. 

Here are general guidelines for CFUs you should look for based on the age of your children:

  • Infants to toddlers (0-1 years): Consult your physician
  • Young Children (2-3 years): Look for probiotic supplements containing 1 billion to 3 billion CFUs. 
  • Elementary school children (4-12 years): Supplements might contain slightly higher CFU counts, ranging from 5 billion to 10 billion CFUs.
  • Adolescents (13 years and above): Kids of this age can typically use an adult probiotic supplement with CFUs from 10 to 20 billion.

Make sure the supplement you choose includes dosing by age on the label.

Renzo’s Probiotic contains 3 billion CFUs per melty tab. For young children, we recommend one tab per day and two tabs per day for elementary school children. 

Source and quality

The source and quality of the probiotics also matter. Choose a probiotic from a trusted brand to source high-quality ingredients and formulate supplements for kids.


Avoid products with unnecessary additives or allergens, especially if the child has dietary sensitivities. Research tells us that sugar feeds bad bacteria and weakens the immune system, so steer clear of gummies and chewable probiotics with sugar. (Hint: All Renzo’s melty tabs are sugar-free, sweetened with monk fruit.)

Combining Probiotics with Vitamin C for Kids’ Immunity

To give your kiddo extra protection, consider giving them both a probiotic and a vitamin C supplement. Research shows that preschool children who were given a probiotic and vitamin C had fewer and shorter upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). 

The key for parents who worry about illnesses is that the kids who took the probiotic and vitamin C also missed less preschool, needed fewer visits to the doctor, and used fewer antibiotics compared to the kids who took the placebo. (Nutrition research and practice)

Try combining Renzo’s Probiotic with Renzo’s Invincible Vitamin C.

Adding Prebiotics to Kids’ Diets

We know that sugar feeds “bad bacteria,” but what feeds “good bacteria.” It turns out that good food feeds the good bacteria in our gut microbiome!

Specifically, healthy bacteria feed on “prebiotics,” which are found in many natural foods. Prebiotics are plentiful in certain high-fiber foods. Gut bacteria feed on these special types of fibers.

Like probiotics, prebiotics support immune function, digestion, and nutrient absorption. They may even help improve metabolic health.

Common sources of prebiotics include:

  • Fruits: Bananas, apples, and berries
  • Vegetables: Onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, and artichokes
  • Grains: Whole grains like oats and barley
  • Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, and beans

In good news, these foods contain a lot of other nutrients that help build a strong immune system. The more whole and natural foods your kids will accept, the better. (When their picky palettes just won’t comply, choose a reliable kids’ multivitamin instead.)

How Often and How Long Should Kids Take Probiotics for Immunity?

Studies on probiotics for immunity have examined the effects of taking probiotics for just a few weeks to long term. (International Journal of Infectious Disease) 

There is no scientific consensus on whether we should take probiotics every day for the long term or for short periods when we want specific health benefits. 

It’s important to note that probiotics don’t often “colonize” or become a permanent part of the gut microbiome. Once your kid stops taking probiotics, their gut doesn’t get the extra support from those good bacteria in the supplement. That’s why taking a daily probiotic can help kids maintain the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Should you only give kids probiotics during cold and flu season? You could, but remember that viruses aren’t always seasonal for little kids because their immune systems are just developing, and practically every virus is new!

Of course, every kid is different. No two people have the same gut microbiota composition, diet, genetics, or overall health. We recommend a daily dose of probiotics for that reason.

How We Formulated Renzo’s Probiotic to Support Immunity

To create our kids’ probiotic supplement, we carefully chose four of the best probiotic strains that are proven to be gentle and effective in children. 

Bifidobacterium longum

This type of friendly bacteria has been shown to improve gut health, enhance the immune system, and reduce the risk of tummy troubles

Research shows that Bifidobacterium longum seems to enhance the immune response by activating specific immune cells in the blood. A recent study shows that this strain can reduce acute symptoms of COVID-19, ease some post-disease symptoms, and boost the body's immune response against the virus. (BMC Nutrition)

Lactobacillus rhamnosus

Widely studied for its benefits in gut health, this strain is known for its role in preventing and treating gastrointestinal infections and disorders. Lactobacillus rhamnosus is also a star at supporting the immune system.

Studies have shown that Lactobacillus rhamnosus can stimulate certain immune cells, increasing the production of antibodies and enhancing the body's ability to respond to infections while suppressing inflammation (Foods; Cells; Gut Microbes; BMC Microbiology)

Bacillus subtilis

Bacillus subtilis is known for being resilient, so it can travel through the stomach to the intestine and get to work protecting kids! 

Studies show that Bacillus subtilis can enhance immune responses by directly interacting with immune cells and modulating the gut microbiota, where 70% of immune cells are found.

As you know, kids get sick with viruses and bacteria, so it’s good to know that Bacillus subtilis can also reduce the severity of bacterial infections. Researchers specifically tested it against Staphylococcus infections and found that this strain both limits the growth of the bacteria and moderates the body's immune response to the infection. (Infection and Immunity)

Bacillus coagulans

Bacillus coagulans is another resilient strain of probiotics, which is key! Only the probiotics that make it to the gut can provide the immune benefits.

Like our other favorite strains, it’s often researched for its potential in treating various digestive issues and boosting the immune system. For example, Bacillus coagulans may increase the production of antibodies and the activation of certain immune cells. (Microorganisms)

Try Probiotics to Boost Kids Immunity

There you have it! A complete rundown on why probiotics are important for immunity and what to consider before you start probiotics with your child or children.

Just remember that probiotics are “helpers” that promote stronger immune systems through the gut. When you give your child a quality probiotic, you’re helping establish a healthy balance in their gut, which controls most of their immunity. That means can do a better job of fighting bad bugs, like viruses and bacteria.

To get started, try Renzo’s Probiotic. It’s specially formulated for little ones and melts in their mouths, with no sugar!
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