National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
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Most Used Natural Products

0.5% of U.S. children (294,000) used

About the same number of children in the United States used probiotics or prebiotics in 2007 and 2012. Probiotics or prebiotics were among the top three natural products used by children in 2012.

Probiotics are live microorganisms (such as certain types of bacteria) that may benefit the health of the person consuming them. Prebiotics refer to nondigestible food ingredients that promote the growth of potentially beneficial microorganisms. There is some evidence that probiotics may ease persistent diarrhea in children.

Prebiotics may also help prevent infections and allergies in otherwise healthy children, but research needs to confirm this. Parents should be aware that many complementary health approaches have not been tested for safety or effectiveness in children.

Read more about probiotics.


5 Citation: Black LI, Clarke TC, Barnes PM, Stussman BJ, Nahin RL. Use of complementary health approaches among children aged 4-17 years in the United States: National Health Interview Survey, 2007-2012. National health statistics reports; no 78. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015. (229KB PDF)

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This page last modified September 24, 2017