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Will Prebiotics Help My Kids Poop?

Published November 20, 2023

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As a dietitian, one common question I often get asked is "Will prebiotics help my kids poop?" It's a great question from parents who are looking for solutions to their kid’s constipation. The short answer is yes - consuming prebiotics could help kids with constipation relief. While the strategy of supporting a kid's gut health will look different between kiddos, the use of prebiotics as a part of their daily routine can be beneficial in promoting a healthy gut in your kiddos. Let's review how prebiotics can help stimulate regular bowel movements and help your kids poop.

What Are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that serve as food for the friendly bacteria in the gut. This special type of fiber is found in plant foods and can help stimulate the growth and activity of probiotics such as lactobacillus and bifidobacteria, which are the beneficial bacteria living in the gut that help support overall gut health and immunity in kids.

How Prebiotics Work

Prebiotics act as a source of nutrition for probiotics, helping them thrive and multiply in the gut. When these beneficial bacteria flourish, they contribute to a well-balanced gut microbiota, which, in turn, supports proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Incorporating prebiotics is one way to help build a balanced gut microbiota. The trillions of good bacteria residing in the digestive tract play a significant role in supporting not only digestion, but immune function as well. Prebiotics help ensure that these friendly bacteria function optimally to help our little ones thrive and stay healthy as they grow.

Research Supporting Prebiotics and Digestive Health in Kids

Studies exploring the relationship between prebiotics and digestive health in kids found that consuming prebiotics can:

  • Increase friendly and beneficial gut bacteria in our kiddos which can support gut healing [2, 3, 4].

  • Increase nutrient absorption, including calcium to support bone health [3].

  • Softer, more frequent stoolings, which can help your kiddos poop regularly. Studies emphasize that when prebiotics such as chicory root fiber are consumed daily, bowel regularity and consistency can be improved within six weeks [1].

Incorporating Prebiotics into Your Kid’s Diet:

Ensuring your kid gets an adequate amount of prebiotics is essential for supporting their digestive health. Foods rich in prebiotics include bananas, leeks, and berries like strawberries or raspberries. Additionally, incorporating a prebiotic supplement specially formulated for toddlers and kids, like Growing Up Prebiotics can be a convenient way to boost their prebiotic intake. For more ideas on sources of prebiotic fiber, check out our blog here: Top 5 Sources of Prebiotic Fiber for Kids Constipation.

Begin Health Expert Tip: One serving of Growing Up Prebiotics provides 3 grams of prebiotic fiber that can help boost your kid’s overall intake of daily fiber and help them meet the recommended daily amount. It’s made from only 2 ingredients: chicory root fiber and HMO’s, to support a healthy digestion in kids. Studies show that consuming prebiotics such as chicory root fiber can help with softer and more frequent stooling within six weeks of daily use [1].

The HMO’s, or human milk oligosaccharides we used in Growing Up Prebiotics is actually not from human milk. Instead, it’s a prebiotic with the same molecular structure and offers the same benefits as the third most abundant prebiotic found in human breast milk.
Summary: Research suggests that including prebiotics in your kid’s diet can positively impact their gut microbiota and overall digestive well-being by promoting softer, more frequent poops. [1].

Studies find that prebiotics are well tolerated for long-term use toddlers and kids to consume. Incorporating prebiotic-rich foods and supplements, when appropriate, can be a proactive step towards promoting a healthy gut and ensuring that your kids stay regular in the most natural way possible.

References:

[1] Closa-Monasterolo, R., Ferré, N., Castillejo-DeVillasante, G., Luque, V., Gispert-Llauradó, M., Zaragoza-Jordana, M., Theis, S., & Escribano, J. (2016). The use of inulin-type fructans improves stool consistency in constipated children. A randomised clinical trial: pilot study. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 68(5), 587–594. https://doi.org/10.1080/09637486.2016.1263605

[2] Vlasova, A. N., Kandasamy, S., Chattha, K. S., Rajashekara, G., & Saif, L. J. (2016). Comparison of probiotic lactobacilli and bifidobacteria effects, immune responses and rotavirus vaccines and infection in different host species. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, 172, 72–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetimm.2016.01.003

[3] Carlson, J., Erickson, J. L., Lloyd, B., & Slavin, J. L. (2018b). Health effects and sources of prebiotic dietary fiber. Current Developments in Nutrition, 2(3), nzy005. https://doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzy005

[4] Sharifi-Rad, J., Rodrigues, C. F., Stojanović-Radić, Z., Dimitrijevic, M., Aleksić, A., Neffe-Skocińska, K., Zielinska, D., Kołożyn-Krajewska, D., Salehi, B., Prabu, S. M., Schütz, F., Docea, A. O., Martins, N., & Calina, D. (2020). Probiotics: versatile bioactive components in promoting human health. Medicina-lithuania, 56(9), 433. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56090433

May Zhu, RDN

May Zhu, RDN

May is the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and nutrition expert at Begin Health.

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