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Vitamins for Kids: What Supplements Do Healthy Kids Need?

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Children are notoriously picky eaters, and making sure they get all the nutrients their growing bodies need can be a challenge–especially if they insist on a diet of chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. Multivitamins can fill in nutritional gaps and offer comfort to parents who are worried.

It can be overwhelming to see the variety of multivitamins for children and their ingredient lists. Forbes Health consulted experts to identify the top children’s multivitamins in 2022. The editorial team determined the star ratings based solely on user satisfaction and cost.

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Every child should have a daily Flintstones and gummy bear vitamin, according to the advertisements. Is it true?

Experts agree that this is not necessarily true. Children should consume a healthy, balanced diet, which includes:

  • Dairy products such as milk and cheese, like yogurt and cheese
  • Lots of fresh fruits and leafy green vegetables
  • Proteins such as chicken, fish, and eggs
  • Whole grains such as steel-cut oats or brown rice

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Which Children Need Vitamin Supplements?  

Because parents are often busy, it is not always possible to cook healthy, well-balanced meals at home. Pediatricians might recommend that you take a multivitamin or mineral supplement daily.

  • Children who don’t eat regular, balanced meals made with fresh, whole foods aren’t doing well in school.
  • People who aren’t able to eat enough may be considered finicky eaters.
  • Children with chronic medical conditions like asthma or digestive problems should be screened, especially if they are taking medication. If your child is currently taking medication, talk to your doctor before you start a supplement.
  • Children eat a lot of fast food, convenience foods, and processed food.
  • Children on a vegetarian/vegan diet may require an iron supplement, while those on a dairy-free diet may need a calcium supplement.
  • Children who consume a lot of carbonated sodas can lose vitamins and minerals.

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The Top Essential Vitamins And Minerals For Kids

A few vitamins and minerals stand out in the alphabet soup of vitamins, which is essential for children’s growth.

  • Vitamins A supports normal growth and development, tissue and bone healing, healthy skin, eyes and immune responses. Milk, cheese, eggs, and yellow-to-orange vegetables such as carrots, squash, yams, and squash are all good sources.
  • Vitamin Bs. B vitamins B2, B3, B6, and B12 are essential for healthy metabolism and energy production. You can find good sources of meat, poultry, nuts, eggs, and milk, as well as beans, soybeans, dairy, cheese, beans, and soybeans.
  • Healthy skin, muscles, and connective tissue. You can find good sources of vitamin C in citrus fruits, tomatoes, kiwi, strawberries, and green vegetables such as broccoli.
  • Calcium is good for bone and tooth growth and aids in absorption. Milk and fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are good sources. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D.
  • Calcium is important for building strong bones in children as they grow. You can get calcium-fortified orange juice, milk, yogurt, and cheese from good sources.
  • Iron is an essential component of healthy red blood cells and builds muscle. The risk for iron deficiency in adolescence is especially high for girls who begin menstruating. Beef and other red meats such as turkey, pork, beans, spinach, and prunes are all good sources.

Megavitamins, which are large amounts of vitamins, is not a good idea. Too many fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins D, E, and K) can cause toxic effects in children. Iron is another example. Your children can have too many good things.

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For The Best Vitamins, Eat Fresh Foods.

What you put in your grocery basket will make a difference in your child’s health.

Serving a variety of fresh, whole foods is key to good nutrition. It’s better than preparing fast food and convenience foods. Foods high in carbs and protein will provide the greatest amount of vitamins and minerals rather than fats. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamins and minerals.

For kids to get more vitamins, try more variety and not more food. Children are twice as likely to be overweight today than they were two decades ago. Therefore, children should eat smaller portions of food, about one-quarter to one-third the size of adult portions.

You can make small meals or snacks from the many foods you have. Don’t worry if your child refuses to eat certain foods for a few days, such as vegetables. You can reintroduce the food a day later, possibly in a different manner. Usually, kids’ “food strikes” end by themselves.

How To Select Vitamins For Children

Vitamins may be beneficial for children who have a restricted diet or are unable to absorb nutrients properly.

Before giving supplements to your child, make sure you talk with your healthcare professional.

Look for supplements that have been evaluated by third parties, such as NSF International or ConsumerLab.com.

Make sure you only purchase vitamins made specifically for children and that they do not contain excessive amounts that go beyond the daily nutritional needs of your child.

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Vitamin And Mineral Precautions To Be Taken By Children

Children can become sick from taking too many vitamins or minerals. This is particularly true for fat-soluble vitamins A and D, E, E, and K. These vitamins are stored in body fat (source).

One case study showed vitamin D poisoning in a child who had taken too many vitamins (source).

Gummy vitamins are especially easy to overeat due to their candy-like flavor and form (source, source).

To avoid accidental overeating, it is best to keep vitamins out reach of children as young as possible.

You should immediately notify a doctor if your child is taking too many vitamins or minerals.

Who May Or May Not Benefit From Multivitamins

Before adding a multivitamin to your child’s day, make sure you get approval from a healthcare professional. Megadoses or high doses of some vitamins can lead to serious health problems. It is crucial that you ensure that the multivitamin is appropriate for your child and is properly formulated.  

It is important for children to understand that they do not need extra vitamin supplementation if they are receiving a nutritious, well-balanced, and nutrient-rich diet.  

The CDC estimates that around one-third of all children in America are taking multivitamins or vitamin and minerals supplements. These supplements can be helpful in filling nutritional gaps for children who are most in need of them. But they could also cause an excess consumption of certain nutrients.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics of the CDC, around one-third of American children are taking vitamin and mineral supplements.

Some children don’t need multivitamins. 3 Children who don’t consume four 8-ounce portions of vitamin D fortified milk, or other dairy alternatives, may need to supplement their vitamin D intake.

Tips For Healthy Kids And Vitamins

These are some tips if you give vitamins to your children:

  1. Keep vitamins out of reach of children so that they don’t see them like candy.
  2. Avoid fighting over food with your children or using desserts to “clean your plates.” Instead, offer your child a chewable vitamin right after you have finished eating. Fat-soluble vitamins cannot be taken in with food.
  3. Ask your child’s physician if there are any interactions between medications and vitamins. The supplement will not increase or decrease the medication’s dose.
  4. If your child refuses to take a liquid or pill, you can give them a chewable vitamin.
  5. If your child’s doctor recommends otherwise, wait until your child is 4 years old before you start giving multivitamin supplements to them.

Good nutrition is crucial for your child’s development and learning. Instead of relying on cartoon characters that sell supplements, encourage your children to eat a variety of healthy foods.

 

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