Can Probiotics Have Side Effects for Infants and Kids?

Can Probiotics Have Side Effects for Infants and Kids?

  • Kids' Health

  • By Jef L’Ecuyer, Registered Dietitian

    Most of us frown when we read the word bacteria, immediately thinking about what lurks on the surfaces of public toilets! While that might be true (public bathrooms are notoriously germy), not all microorganisms are harmful. Probiotics are case in point. These 'good bacteria' offer numerous benefits for both adults and kids alike. If you've bought into the advantages of taking a daily probiotic, you're well aware of the benefits (better digestion, improved immune health), but are probiotics too good to be true? Are there any negative side effects to be aware of, especially for kids and infants?


    Is There Any Risk to Taking a Probiotic? 

    To be considered a probiotic, a microorganism must have a positive impact on its host’s health. Many bacteria of this kind are naturally present in the human body. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium (two main probiotic species), already inhabit our digestive system.

    When we talk about the potential adverse side effects of probiotics, its crucial to understand that the negative effects do not actually come from the good bacteria themselves. Instead, any adverse reaction comes from poor control or inaccurate product labelling. Poorer quality probiotics may not list specific strains, making unclear about precisely what you are getting.

    Another factor is potential allergens. If you have a sensitivity to dairy or are lactose intolerant, a probiotic that contains dairy might not be the right solution for you.

    At Bio-K+ our three probiotics bacteria strains are held up to the strictest quality measures to ensure our three bacteria strains are never stressed, tired or damage. Our probiotic bacteria have also been the subject of finished product research, so we can confidently say that our bacteria work (and work even better together).

    We have also worked hard to provide a product that is inclusive of many diets. Drinkable Bio-K+ is available in fermented dairy, brown rice, soy and pea & hemp formulas and our capsules are now 100% vegan.


    Using Probiotics When Pregnant

    Now that we've cleared up what may cause any negatives when taking probiotics, let’s look more specifically at the potential for adverse effects in infants and children.

    Do pregnancy and bacteria mix well together? Nothing seems to indicate otherwise. According to the findings from studies conducted with pregnant women in their third trimester, the side effects of taking probiotics did not increase, both for mommy and her baby.

    At birth, we know that the fetus’ intestine is sterile. A newborn becomes inoculated with bacteria from the mother's vaginal canal, and intestinal flora. Maintaining a healthy bacterial flora is therefore essential throughout pregnancy, and probiotics help to preserve this balance.


    Allergies and Intolerances: The Negative Side Effects of Taking Probiotics

    Allergies and food intolerances are a real puzzle for many parents. Milk’s protein base, present in some probiotics, can be a problem for children who have a milk allergy or are lactose-intolerant. But there is a way to remedy this situation—and even please the pickiest of eaters. As we mentioned, drinkable Bio-K+ comes in a variety of formats that are suitable for a wide variety of diets. For our Bio-Kidz line, we offer both a drinkable dairy (in a delicious strawberry flavour) and our newest Bio-Kidz vegan raspberry flavour. It tastes just like juice and contains 12.5 billion live and active bacteria in every bottle.

    Although probiotics can be a benefit to many kids, helping to keep digestive systems healthy and immune systems strong, parents of children whose immune system is weakened by illness or the use of medicine must take some precautions. Consulting a doctor remains the best way to determine how probiotics could fulfill the little one’s needs.


    If you have any other questions on probiotics or kid’s health, let us know in comments below! For more healthy tips, join our community. To stock up on Bio-Kidz and Bio-K+, head to our store locatorContact us or find us on Facebook and Instagram.




    Are probiotics safe for use during pregnancy and lactation? - PMC (


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    Jef L’Ecuyer Registered Dietitian
    About the author
    After her nutrition training at McGill University, Jef specialized in gastrointestinal health with a special interest in the microbiota and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. With Bio-K+, she continues on this path by making the world of probiotics more accessible to all.
    View all articles by Jef L’Ecuyer
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