As a parent we always want to make sure we are giving our child everything they need. How do we know if they need to take a child supplement or multivitamin? The answer isn’t always clear but here are a few simple things to consider.
As children grow it is especially important to make sure they are getting adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals that will help their growing bodies and immune system.
Most kids will get enough vitamins and minerals through the food they eat, and real food is always the best source of vitamins. If they are eating a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein, they are probably getting adequate amounts of everything they need and will not need a supplement.
Certain kids will need supplements, but it is important to always check with their doctor first. Kids need the same vitamins and minerals as adults just in smaller amounts.
Your child might need a supplement if they are on a restricted diet like:
• vegan or vegetarian
• food allergies
• is a very picky eater
• a condition that affects their digestion such as celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive issues
If your child is a vegetarian it is important to have them on a vitamin B12 supplement, and possibly calcium, iron, and vitamin D. Many of these vitamins are found in animal products and could be lacking in vegetarian or vegan diets. You can always have these levels checked with a simple blood test to see if they have any deficiencies.
Does your child only want to eat mac and cheese and hot dogs? It can feel like your child is so hard to feed but talk to your doctor if you think they are extremely picky. A multivitamin may be a good supplement for picky eaters, and if you really can’t sneak in more fruits, vegetables or fortified foods like cereal, juice and milk. Also be sure to remember, even if you do start giving them a multivitamin, continue to try and sneak in a variety of foods. It is important they continue seeing what a balanced meal looks like, so their growing and evolving taste buds will be exposed to new flavors they might learn they like!
Finally, if your child has a chronic condition that involves the digestive system it can affect the absorption of nutrients from food. Even if they are eating a balanced diet their bodies may not be absorbing all the nutrients they need from the food. Make sure you talk to their doctor to see if certain supplements may be beneficial.
How much do they need?
Making sure you are using a supplement or multivitamin especially designed for kids is important. It is possible to have too much of a good thing. You want to look for a supplement that supplies no more than 100% daily value of any certain nutrient.
If you choose a gummy vitamin make sure your kids do not treat this as candy. They should only take the recommended amount to avoid any vitamin toxicity.