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Should Children take dietary supplements?

Updated on March 14, 2010

Multivitamin supplements

 If your child is eating a well balanced diet and a wide variety of foods, then there is no need for any vitamins or dietary supplements. What is the best way to ensure your kids are getting enough vitamins and minerals that are absolutely essential for their well being? Are they eating fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, grains, nuts and legumes, milk and cheese?

One of the main worries of parents is to know if their children are getting enough nutrition. It is really challenging to feed fussy eaters, picky eaters and children in general as they don't like to eat the right things. Hope this information helps in determining if children should take dietary supplements.

Children's Dietary Supplements review

If the child does not eat healthy foods, the ability to learn may be hindered. In today's climate, providing an optimal diet for your children is challenging due to reasons like fast foods, processed canned foods, coolness factor, etc. A well balanced multi-vitamin mineral supplement sure helps children for their growth - physical and mental development.

Keep in mind that a supplement can never replace a good well balanced diet, but it can give your kid essential vitamins and minerals that are missing in the diet. Also, extra vitamins and minerals will not make children more intelligent or more athletic if they are already well nourished. Supplements are not a substitute for good food, and they should never be used to justify a poor diet. If your child isn't eating well, give him a supplement, but also take steps to improve his eating habits.

Important tip on dietary supplements:

Keep vitamin and mineral supplements out of reach of children! Most of them taste good and they look like candy - you do not want your child to have supplements for snacks!

How to choose a vitamin supplement?

  • Choose a multivitamin that is formulated specifically for children.
  • Make sure it provides 100% of the RDA ( Recommended Daily Allowance ) for all the vitamins and minerals listed (avoid brands that provide significantly more than 100% of the RDA).
  • Choose a comprehensive formula designed for your kid's age range.
  • Make sure the quantities of each nutrient are no more than 100% of RDA (recommended daily allowance )
  • Avoid multivitamins with added colors

Some of the chewable multivitamins:
Flintstones Complete
Puritan’s Pride Gummies
One A Day Kids Complete
Freeda Vitalets (100% vegetarian, yeast, gluten and lactose free)

 Do not overdo vitamins and supplements. For example, it is known that excessive amounts of Vitamin A can cause big problems. Similarly, zinc is also a concern. Check our for fortified foods and if they provide 100% vitamin A or zinc, do not add a vitamin supplement to your children's diet. If your child follows a vegetarian diet,  vitamin B12 will be lacking in his diet so make sure your supplement choice includes vitamin B12. And if you know that your child is anemic, consult with the doctor for a supplement with a particular amount of iron.

Summary: If your kid is getting a well balanced diet, no need for dietary supplements. If you are giving your kid with fortified foods, do not add multivitamin to the diet. If you decide to add multivitamins to the diet mix, it is recommended to follow the tips listed above.

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    • Majidsiko profile image

      Majidsiko 

      8 years ago from Kenya

      All in all the decision to start, supplements should considered well with advice from a doctor, because the reason for deficiencies may not be the amount the child is ingesting, but the absorption, or other factors. Also avoid Iron supplements when the child has a fever, and mention all the supplements (take them with you) whenever you go see your doctor.

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