Reasons Your Kids Might Need Supplements
In order to ensure your kids get all the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong, you give them fruits and vegetables as snacks, serve salads more often, and you’ve even invested in a quality juicer to make them delicious and nutritious juices.
Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, your kids’ diet may not be enough for them to be healthy. Ideally, a child needs to get 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, two to four cups of milk or another dairy, and two servings of fish a week. Plus, despite your efforts for your family to stick to a better diet, the reality is, it’s very hard to sustain it. You’re tired, you work, you travel, or you’re sick of wars with picky eaters. And let’s not forget that mass agriculture techniques often leave soil lacking in the important minerals that it once contained. Simply said, right from the beginning, sometimes even vegetables are not quite as healthy as you thought they were.
This is where kids vitamin options come into play. Do kids need vitamins, you may ask? Vitamin supplements for kids are a way to fill any potential nutritional gaps your kids’ diet might have. Regardless of what type of eaters your children are, they may have some nutritional gaps and can benefit from the daily nutrition provided by a multivitamin.
What Vitamins Are Good for Kids?
Nowadays, you can find a large assortment of kids vitamin options available on the market. Though they are safe for kids, taking more than the recommended dose can be toxic. This is especially true for supplements that contain vitamins A, E, and D. With that said, make sure to talk to your pediatrician about the recommended dosages. The supplements and doses suggested below are meant for children ages 4 to 16.
Considering the fact that it’s impossible to get all the nutrients needed, even if your child eats the healthiest diet possible, a multivitamin is a great way to ensure that your little ones get the vitamins and minerals missing in their diets. A good multi should contain all of the essential vitamins and minerals, and it should be age and body-weight appropriate. You should never give a toddler a supplement formulated for teens. Follow the product’s label instructions.
Cesarian section births, antibiotics, poor eating… all this can compromise a child’s gut bacteria. Probiotic supplements improve regularity and can reduce diarrhea during and after taking antibiotics. Several strains, including L.acidophilus, L casei, bulgaricus and L. reuteri, protect against diarrhea-causing germs.
Note: don’t give probiotics to infants without a physician’s guidance and follow the product label instructions.
Gut health affects immunity. For instance, L. rhamnosus GG is known to help reduce upper-respiratory-tract symptoms in children attending daycare centres, and B. lactis and L. Brevis protect against cold and flu symptoms. A study has reported that Streptococcus salivarius K12 reduced the risk of strep infections in children.
Probiotics help keep your child’s immune system strong by fighting gastrointestinal infections. Vitamin D can also help children fight infections. For probiotics, follow the product’s label directions and for vitamin D, give 1,200 IU during winter months and less over summer if your children spend time outdoors.
In order to develop, children’s brains require omega-3s, mainly DHA and EPA, during infancy and throughout childhood. Research has shown that low levels of DHA can lead to poorer reading ability and memory. Infants fed omega-3s, on the other hand, scored better on rule-learning, inhibitions tasks, vocabulary and preschool intelligence from ages 3 to 5.
Because most children’s vitamins come in colourful, funny shapes, make sure your children understand that they aren’t candy, but medicine. Also, make sure to keep supplements out of their reach. For that, you can even store the pills in child-proof containers to ensure your children can’t get at them when you aren’t looking.
What to Look for in a Supplement for Kids
When buying a supplement for your child, make sure you check the purity of the ingredients. While it may seem ironic, there are actually a ton of supplements for children on the market loaded with chemicals, fillers and additives. Unfortunately, many brands also include loads of sugar, additional colouring and binding agents that are completely unnecessary and even toxic.
Reading labels will certainly help you identify a premium supplement. Use your smartphone to your advantage! Google any ingredient you don’t recognize – you’ll be surprised at what you will learn. Supplement additives to avoid include artificial colouring, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, dicalcium phosphate, butylated hydroxytoluene, sodium selenite, artificial sugar, titanium dioxide, magnesium stearate, magnesium silicate and talc.
In addition to the quality of your supplements, you should also consider the amount of each vitamin you are actually getting. Many supplements contain very low doses of vitamins and minerals. A good practice is to aim for a therapeutic dose of each vitamin. Remember that different kids have different needs, so it’s recommended to consult with your child’s pediatrician before buying children vitamins.