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Probiotic use in Children and Teens with ADHD, autism and depression


Probiotic use in Children and Teens with ADHD, autism and depression

Probiotics maybe beneficial to your teenager’s health. In children and teens, probiotics use is associated with acute constipation, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, travellers’ diarrhea and infant colic [1].

Probiotics support gut function, reduce inflammation and now, there is evidence that some brain health issues can be helped by supplementing with probiotics.

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What is the Connection Between your Gut and Brain?

Gut microbes can regulate brain function through the gut-brain connection, and an imbalance of the gut microbes tips the scale toward mood and anxiety symptoms [2]. The gut microbiota is the primary regulator within the gut-brain connection. Irregular signalling from the gut to the brain may be responsible for the stress response in the body.

Stress-related disorders can alter the composition and stability of gut microbiota, resulting in an inflammatory state within the gut [4].  This inflammatory state in the gut increases bacteria associated with inflammation. Inflammation of the brain and nervous system has been linked to psychiatric disorders including ADHD, autism, and depression [2,3].

Probiotics modify the gut bacteria through the production of short chain fatty acids, antimicrobial compounds and antitoxins, and enhance the role of the gut barrier, and reduce inflammation, and altering mood and behaviour.

Gastrointestinal symptoms are seen more often in children and teenagers with ADHD and autism, and other psychiatric disorders [5, 9]. Probiotics are being studied in clinical trials with children and teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and depression [6]. Probiotic supplementation can have a positive effect on ADHD symptoms.

In one study, there was associated improvement in patient’s inattention symptoms and hyperactivity/impulsive symptoms in children diagnosed with ADHD, aged 4-16 years, during supplementation with probiotics [7].

A review of multiple studies exploring the effects of probiotics in children with autism showed that the use of probiotics might be beneficial to both gastrointestinal and psychological symptoms, and there was  consistent change in the gut microbiota in a beneficial way [8].

Should probiotics be included in your teenager’s diet?

Probiotics can be  included in your teen’s diet through food like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. Whole foods are usually best for getting your nutrients. But in the case of probiotics, your child may not get enough from whole foods alone. There is no way to know how much exactly you are getting through foods. Supplementation with probiotics maybe a way to ensure you are getting a certain strain of probiotics and in sufficient amounts.

Are probiotics safe for children and teens?

Probiotics are known for safe use, in healthy individuals [1].  Risk of harmful effects maybe greater in children with compromised immune systems. If you are considering a dietary probiotic supplement, consult with your child’s health provider for advice and how long to use the product, especially if your child has serious health problems. Health Canada permits the use of probiotics in children aged 1-11 years, and adolescents 12-17 years [10]. A licensed natural health product including probiotic supplements approved by Health Canada have a Natural Product Number (NPN) listed on the label, and have been assessed by Health Canada and found to be safe, effective and of high quality under their recommended conditions of use [11].

Click here to read more about this Effective Probiotic Supplement


At Refine Naturals, we realize that not all natural health supplements are created equal. We concentrate our expertise in choosing quality and evidence backed medicinal as well as non-medicinal ingredients. We keep our labels and marketing practices compliant to advertising standards, so as to never mislead consumers in their decision making. For a complete list of our supplements, click on our product catalog.

At Refine Naturals: We believe “You Deserve Better than FINE!


  1. National Institute of Health (2022, November 29). Probiotics – Fact Sheet for Consumers. Retrieved February 17, 2023 from
  2. Lee, C. H., & Giuliani, F. (2019). The Role of Inflammation in Depression and Fatigue. Frontiers in immunology10, 1696.
  3. Simpson, C. A., Diaz-Arteche, C., Eliby, D., Schwartz, O. S., Simmons, J. G., & Cowan, C. (2021). The gut microbiota in anxiety and depression - A systematic review. Clinical psychology review83, 101943.
  4. Lach, G., Schellekens, H., Dinan, T. G., & Cryan, J. F. (2018). Anxiety, Depression, and the Microbiome: A Role for Gut Peptides. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics15(1), 36–59.
  5. Wang, N., Gao, X., Zhang, Z., & Yang, L. (2022). Composition of the Gut Microbiota in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in endocrinology13, 838941.
  6. Freimer, D., Yang, T. T., Ho, T. C., Tymofiyeva, O., & Leung, C. (2022). The gut microbiota, HPA axis, and brain in adolescent-onset depression: Probiotics as a novel treatment. Brain, behavior, & immunity - health26, 100541.
  7. Wang, L. J., Yang, C. Y., Kuo, H. C., Chou, W. J., Tsai, C. S., & Lee, S. Y. (2022). Effect of Bifidobacterium bifidumon Clinical Characteristics and Gut Microbiota in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Journal of personalized medicine12(2), 227.
  8. Patel, M., Atluri, L. M., Gonzalez, N. A., Sakhamuri, N., Athiyaman, S., Randhi, B., Gutlapalli, S. D., Pu, J., Zaidi, M. F., & Khan, S. (2022). A Systematic Review of Mixed Studies Exploring the Effects of Probiotics on Gut-Microbiome to Modulate Therapy in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Cureus14(12), e32313.
  9. Soltysova, M., Tomova, A., & Ostatnikova, D. (2022). Gut Microbiota Profiles in Children and Adolescents with Psychiatric Disorders. Microorganisms10(10), 2009.
  10. Government of Canada (2023, January 27). Product Monograph – Probiotics. Retrieved February 17, 2023 from
  11. Government of Canada (2019, January 4). Licensed Natural Health Products Database Retrieved February 17, 2023 from