Probiotic supplementation in well children: A scoping review

Nicola Irwin, Deborah Davis, Marian Currie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Probiotic supplements have been suggested as therapy for a range of health problems in children. This article aims to map the literature around probiotic use in well children, with a focus on prevalence. Using a scoping review methodology, we searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, HealthSource and SAGE, as well as Google and MedNar for grey literature, in July 2018. We followed the PRISMA extension for scoping reviews and used the Crowe Critical Appraisal Tool to assess articles for quality. Seven studies including a total of 24,742 children were identified. The prevalence of probiotic use ranged from 4% to 51%. The most common predictors of use were parental probiotic use, and higher maternal education and income. Only one small study reported the strains of probiotics used. Neither the reasons for using probiotics, nor parental perceptions of efficacy were adequately explored. Most parents obtained their information about probiotics from the Internet or family members. Despite the number of children in the community reported to have used probiotics, there are few well-designed and/or well-reported studies of prevalence, and inadequate data concerning the strains of probiotics used, reasons for their use and their perceived efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-401
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Child Health Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


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