Are multivitamins good for my kids?
The million dollar question every parent has to wrestle with, and the reason we put together this explainer article.
What are Multivitamins?
Multivitamin is a collective term for vitamin and mineral supplements commonly available from drug & wellness stores. They are usually capsules, gels, liquids, powders or tablets comprising minerals, vitamins and an array of other micronutrients that are meant to supplement one’s dietary and nutritional intake.
Multivitamins can be obtained in two ways:
- Extracted from real food, or
- Made in a lab from synthetic ingredients
Even still, any product must contain at least 3 separate micronutrients to be considered a multivitamin. There are over 13 vitamins, 16 minerals and myriads of other essentials nutrients that can be supplemented via multivitamins.
In the US, multivitamins are big business. It’s estimated that Americans spend close to $20 billion each year on vitamin and mineral supplements. While they are quite popular among senior adults, supplement use in children is something to write home about.
A comprehensive nationwide survey concluded that a multitude of children in the United States uses vitamin and mineral supplements. In fact, one of out of 4 kids takes multivitamins, as per HealthCareWeekly.
Should You Give Multivitamins to your Children?
Healthy kids who are taking a varied diet – a well-balanced diet that consists of plenty of fruits and veggies – are not exactly required to take vitamins and mineral supplements. They are already getting an abundance of these nutrients from the food and drinks they consume.
However, there are special cases where multivitamins are required and recommended by medical professionals, especially when the child is suspected to suffer from a deficiency of vitamins and minerals.
Which Children Who are Recommended to Take Multivitamins?
If you think your child is not getting the daily recommended intake of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, it is crucial that you check with a qualified nutritionist or their doctor. They will do a thorough evaluation of your kid’s situation and recommend the right multivitamin supplement.
If your child falls under any of the following categories, multivitamin supplementation is highly recommended:
- Your child lives a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. Some crucial nutrients can only be found in non-vegetarian foods like meat, eggs, etc.
- Your kid suffers from a serious eating disorder(s) like chronic appetite loss, anorexia, and so on.
- Your child suffers from a chronic ailment such as liver disease, malabsorption disease, etc.
- Your child is on a restrictive diet like weight loss program for obesity, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes, just to mention a few.
Even if your little one is not under any dietary duress to use vitamin and mineral supplements, he or she stands to benefit greatly from them. There are plenty of reasons to give your child multivitamins occasionally.
Benefits/Reasons Why Parents should Give their Kids Multivitamins
#1. VM Supplements Help Fill Nutritional Gaps
Most adults forget to eat healthily even on their best days, let alone kids who have skewed cravings. According to recent stats, most Americans don’t get the required amount of vitamins and minerals through food. In fact, CDC reports that an average American consumes only one serving of fruit and two servings of veggies.
That’s not enough.
A nutritional gap of even one nutrient can have adverse effects on your child health and overall well-being. The good news is that multivitamins can help fill this gap, and ensure that your child’s health is in tip-top shape. And a recent Harvard study agrees.
#2. Multivitamins Help Improve Sleep
Sleep is everything to a child who is still growing. There are several supplements that can help improve many facets of sleep. Taking 1 gram of Tryptophan per day, for instance, can do wonders for sleep quality.
#3. Multivitamins are Good for the Ticker
An observational study carried out by a team of scientists at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, has shown that regular intake of vitamin and mineral supplements can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Given that heart disease one of the leading killers in American, it pays to protect your child’s ticker way early in life.
#4. Let’s Talk Vitamin D
Vitamin D is rarely found in food, but it’s one of the most vital nutrients. It’s essential for a healthy immune system, helps with the absorption of metals (magnesium, calcium, etc.), and plays a role in many body functions. Vitamin D deficiency leads to weak bones and rickets.
Because young children (mostly 0-12 months) aren’t exposed to sunlight, they are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. Multivitamins can come in handy.
#5. Prevents Chronic Diseases
Multivitamins help reduce the risk of developing certain chronic ailments. For instance, those rich in vitamin B6 and folic acids can help prevent colon cancer and heart disease.
#6. Boosts Metabolism and Weight Loss
Childhood obesity is no longer a joking matter in America. 1 in 5 children in the US has obesity or struggling with weight issues. There are several vitamin and mineral supplements that have shown the potential of revving up metabolism and aiding weight loss.
#7. Improves Mental Health
Following recent school shootings, every parent should be concerned about their kids’ mental health. Good thing, multivitamins can promote brain health. How so?
- They can improve mood
- They can boost memory and recall
- Prevents inflammation which may cause cognitive decline
Multivitamins are NOT FDA Ratified: How Do You Know Which Are Good for Your Child?
Go for all-natural – choose 100% natural supplements, preferably from wholefoods
Check the food source – they should mention where it comes from, whether veggies, fruit, fish, etc.
Consult with a doctor – The professional will tell which supplements will be more beneficial to your child
They should be USP verified – USP is the ultimate stamp of approval.
Trust your instincts – if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Buy from only reputable and USP-verified vendors.
Check out the Daily Values (DV) – You should choose a multivitamin with 100% of the DV for every vitamin you need to take once daily.
This post is contributed by Codrin Arsene from Digital Authority Partners, a healthcare consulting company.