Should Children Take Vitamins?
What NIH has to say about vitamins
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) website, "Vitamins are substances that your body needs to grow and develop normally."
Vitamins each have specific jobs. Low levels of certain vitamins may lead to a deficiency disease. An example is rickets, which can be caused by insufficient vitamin D. Did you know that Vitamin A helps to prevent night blindness?
The NIH site states, "The best way to get enough vitamins is to eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods. In some cases, you may need to take a daily multivitamin for optimal health".
Do I or Don't I Need to Supplement My Child's Diet?
It really depends on who you ask as to what sort of answer you will get. We suggest, let your common sense prevail. Unless your child eats mixed green salads and fresh fruits every single day, you should definitely supplement your child's diet with a healthy multivitamin.
I've seen my grandchildren survive for days on nothing more than fresh grapes and cheese sticks because that was all they would actually eat. I've tried getting creative, making the meal more fun to look at, fancy presentations aside, there is no way they will eat a fresh spinach salad.
Have you ever tried explaining to a 3 year old that their salad of mixed greens including spinach, kale and beet sprouts is an important part of their overall diet? They do not understand nor do they care.
That being said, high doses/megavitamins are NOT a good idea for children. More is not always better, especially with fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K) and Iron, all of which can be toxic if children overdose on large quantities of these. Extra iron especially should only be prescribed, if necessary, by your child's pediatrician, without exception.
How do you know if you should supplement your child's diet?
Pediatricians may recommend a quality vitamin supplement for your child if:
- Your child eats a lot of fast food, processed food and not a lot of fresh, whole foods
- Your child is on a vegetarian diet - iron supplement may be recommended
- Your child is on a dairy-free diet - calcium may be recommended
- Your child consumes a lot of soda (carbonated drinks) - leaching vitamins and minerals from the body
- Your child is a picky eater - if your child doesn't regularly eat a well balanced diet, your pediatrician may recommend a children's multivitamin and mineral supplement.
YOUR CHILD'S HEALTHY DIET SHOULD INCLUDE:
- Daily servings of a variety of fresh fruits
- Daily servings of a variety of green, leafy vegetables
- Daily protein from seeds, nut butters and beans
- Whole grain breads and crackers
- Plenty of water
I think it is fair to say, many children need some form of vitamin supplementation. Now comes the tricky part, which vitamin is best?
Compare Children's Vitamins
There are hundreds of choices on the market for children's vitamins, so we're going to give you our fave and compare it to 5 very popular brands.
Our favorite is a gummy vitamin - DNA Miracles for children because:
- It provides 23 vitamins and minerals
- Contains NO artificial colors
- No artificial flavors
- Contains HALF the SUGAR of other leading brands
- Includes 100 percent or more of the daily recommended value of 13 nutrients.
Your children will love them, which is very important. I mean what's the point of all those vitamins and minerals, reduced sugars and natural flavors if your children gag on them, right?
Compared to its competitors, DNA Miracles Gummy Vitamins is a more complete nutritional formula of the highest quality for less cost per serving, meaning kids are getting more while parents are saving more of their hard-earned cash.
Still need some more proof on the importance of supplementing your child's diet? Check out the studies referenced below.
Want to compare, apples to apples, different children's supplement formulas? View a comparison chart below:
Compare a few leading brands
Dr Oz on Children's Vitamin Supplements
Study: Kids who need vitamins not getting them
By Shahreen Abedin
CNN Senior Medical Producer
Researchers at the University of California-Davis Children's Hospital found that among U.S. children and teens, multivitamins or mineral supplements are most common among those who are least likely to need them. Conversely, those children who have the greatest need for an additional boost to their nutrition from a supplement are least likely to get it. Read more
Memo to Pediatricians: Screen All Kids for Vitamin D Deficiency, Test Those at High Risk
Feb. 22, 2012 — As study after study shows the fundamental role vitamin D plays in disease and health, vitamin D deficiency -- which often develops insidiously in childhood -- should be on every parent's and pediatrician's radar, say physicians from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Read more...
Vitamin D Cuts Kids' Recurrent Ear Infection
Published: Sep 13, 2013 | Updated: Sep 15, 2013
By Cole Petrochko, Staff Writer, MedPage TodayReviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner
DENVER -- Children with low levels of vitamin D and recurrent ear infections had a reduced risk for acute otitis media with vitamin D supplementation, researchers reported here. Read more...
A Good Alternative to Daily Vitamins
Not every parent wants to supplement with a multivitamin, so there is of course, a healthy alternative, that your children will actually enjoy, daily fresh-made smoothies. Not a juice but a smoothie, blending all the pulp and fibers into the drink.
On a daily basis, make a smoothie that includes a wide variety of fresh, organic fruits, veggies and flax seed. My daily smoothie contains the following, and my grandchildren LOVE it:
- Spinach (large handful)
- Kale (depends on bitterness, a small handful)
- Bok choy leaves (couple leaves)
- Sunflower seed sprouts (a complete protein) (1 handful)
- Ground flax seed (2 tablespoons)
- Fresh Beets (1/3 of a beet)
- Carrot (1)
- Celery ( 1 stalk)
- Frozen dark cherries
- Frozen pineapple
- Frozen or fresh banana
- Frozen strawberries
- Cherry concentrate (Montmorency) (2 tablespoons)
My breakfast smoothie is half fruits and half vegetables . The wide variety provides a load of fruits and vegetables for your children, and you if you share it, on a daily basis and there are no fights to get them to drink it.
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