Do Kids Need Vitamin Supplements? The Myths and Truths You Need to Know
Do kids need supplements? This is a great question and a hotly debated topic, but with all the information out there how can you tell the accurate from the totally bogus? After all, when it comes to your children’s health you don’t want to be second-guessing. That’s why we’ve put together a list of myths and truths about children’s vitamins, so you can support your kid’s health worry-free!
Myth: Kids don’t need supplements.
Truth: If a child is eating a balanced diet full of whole foods, it is less likely that they require supplementation. But, there are certain circumstances where it is beneficial to supplement a child’s diet with safe, effective, high-quality vitamins and minerals.
Do you have a picky eater at home? Or a child that seems to always be getting sick? These are just a few indicators that supplementation might be helpful to your child. The fact is that we all process foods differently, and all have genetic predispositions that affect our metabolism of certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Even if your child is eating the healthiest diet, their body may not physically be processing those foods with the utmost efficiency, which can affect nutrient status too. Even the way in which your child was delivered (cesarean versus vaginal) can affect his or her gut bacterial makeup, which we now know to have a significant part to play in our overall health. Because we are all so unique and there are an incredible amount of environmental factors that contribute to health and nutrient status, it is unfounded to say that children don’t need supplements.
Does your child need to take supplements?
- Is your child a picky eater?
- Does your child have chronic or repetitive health problems?
- Is your child prone to sickness?
- Does your child eat a lot of processed foods and/or fast foods?
- Is your child on a restricted diet? (Ex. vegan, vegetarian)
- Does your child have a condition that could affect nutrient status, increase the need for nutrients, or impact digestion? (Ex. cancer, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or past surgery to the digestive tract)
- Does your child spend a lot of time indoors?
These are all potential cases where a child may benefit from supplementation. If your child falls into one of these categories, or if you’re wondering whether or not to give your kid(s) nutritional supplements then take a moment to speak to your doctor or pediatrician, who can guide you on getting started!
Myth: Supplements are dangerous for children.
Truth: Supplements made specifically for children are generally safe to take as long as the dosage instructions are followed. There are also certain nutrients that should be taken with extra caution.
While vitamins in general are necessary for health, there are some that can become toxic when taken in high levels. These tend to be the fat-soluble vitamins - vitamins A, D, E, and K - which the body stores in fat tissue versus eliminating it through the urine. Because the body holds on to these nutrients over a longer period of time, if they are taken in excessive dosages, health issues can occur. The easiest way to avoid this, as with any nutritional supplement, is to follow the manufacturer’s dosage instructions. This will ensure that your child doesn’t exceed the daily dosage guidelines. On top of this, always be sure to keep supplements out of reach from little hands. This is especially true for colorful or gummy style vitamins which can easily be confused with candy.
Myth: Kids have different nutrient needs than adults.
Truth: Kids have the same nutrient requirements, but in different amounts.
We often forget that kids are tiny humans with just as many nutritional requirements as adults. With picky eaters, it’s usually much easier to cave to their preferences than constantly argue about what’s for dinner. But, in any case, it is extremely important to understand that children have the same nutrient requirements as adults, just in different amounts. So, for children who don’t have a lot of variety in their diet, who are maybe more active than average, or those who simply don’t like nutritious foods it is our job, as caregivers and parents, to ensure that their needs are being met. And what better (and simpler) way to do this, than with supplementation.
If you’re wanting to make sure that your kid is getting exactly what they need, there are certain vitamins that are especially helpful for children. Here are a few of the best vitamins for children’s health:
Iron is well known for supporting physical growth, the production of red blood cells, neurological development, and for muscle development. So, as you can see, iron is absolutely crucial for growing children! Deficiency is quite common too, and is responsible for about half of childhood cases of anemia.
Fish usually isn’t a child’s first choice of meal, but the omega-3’s provided by fatty fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel are vital for healthy brain development. The fatty acid known as DHA is especially helpful for mood, attention, learning, and impulse control in children (1). There have been studies that show a benefit for omega-3 intake and asthma as well (2). For new mothers and infants, adequate intake of omega-3’s can also help to reduce the incidence of food sensitization resulting in allergies (3).
For children with tummy troubles, anxious tendencies, or issues with immunity, probiotics are a great go-to! With the many health-supporting functions of our gut bacteria, it can be extremely beneficial to replenish our system with healthy bacteria to maintain balance. This is especially true for children who are on frequent antibiotics. Because antibiotic medication wipes our systems clean leaving little behind, it’s considered best practice to give the gut a little boost post-illness.
Vitamin C is a very important nutrient for both adults and children. It plays many roles throughout the body, like helping with collagen formation, nerve signal transmission, supporting healthy bones and teeth, and to top it all off, it also supports immunity. These are all crucial factors in overall wellbeing, especially for growing children, so having vitamin C on hand is a definite yes!
You’ve probably heard it a million times - we need calcium for strong bones and teeth. What many people don’t know is that calcium has many other important functions throughout the body too, including the regulation of muscle and heart function, nerve signal transmission, and so much more! Since our bones are constantly in a process of being broken down and built back up again, calcium is a nutrient that’s important to take life-long!
When you think of calcium, you should also be thinking of vitamin D3, otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin! Because our bodies rely on UV rays to produce vitamin D3, supplementation becomes especially critical for children (and adults) living in Northern countries. Due to high amounts of time spent out of the sun and indoors, it can cause vitamin D3 deficiency. Vitamin D3 has many important functions throughout the body including immunity and brain health while also helping the body to absorb calcium.
While there are many other vitamins that benefit children’s health, these are a few of the most important. Remember, that a well-rounded diet is one of the best ways to ensure that all nutrient needs are being met, and supplementation is a great way to provide the foundational elements that support health and wellbeing.
How to Choose the Best Vitamins for Children
Choosing the right vitamin for your kid can be a stressful process. How do you know that the product is safe or good quality? How do you know what companies to trust? Or which vitamins to pick? We want to make sure your children are taking only the best, so we wanted to help make your decision a little easier. When it comes to choosing the best supplements (for kids and adults), here are a few things to look for:
- Safety & Quality. Any company who is proud of their safety, cleanliness, and quality standards will usually share that with their customers. It’s important to do a little research on the brands that you’re choosing, and to ask yourself - is this company being transparent about their production processes? Do they promote the safety and quality of their products? Are they open about their facility standards?
- Trusted Brands. With so many different companies providing nutritional supplements out there, one of the best ways to narrow your decision is to look at the company’s reputation. There are often reviews online which provide feedback and experiences shared by customers. A quick search of the company’s name online will also give you a good idea of whether or not there is reason to trust the brand. If your search brings up little to no information, then this would be a pretty big red flag. On the other hand, if there is a wealth of information, social media pages, reviews, etc. then this is a good indication that at least your product is coming from a legitimate business.
- Dosage. If you want to make sure that your child is taking in safe but adequate amounts of a nutrient, then the best way to do so is by only supplementing with nutrients specifically dosed for children. There are millions of adult products on the market, but giving a child an adult vitamin supplement can lead to toxicity. So, instead, opt for products that are made for children and always double-check the label to ensure proper dosage. The vast majority of supplements will also have the appropriate age and relative dosage for the product indicated.
- Ingredients. Ingredients matter, especially in the supplement world. You wouldn’t want to take a supplement that has a negative effect on the body! The key here is to always check the ingredients label. Is there a long list of ingredients? Are there a bunch of extra elements added with little to no nutritional value? Are the nutrients themselves in the most bioavailable form? These are all things to consider when choosing the best vitamins for you and your family!
Here at Aarja Health, we only make supplements that we ourselves would take and feel comfortable giving to our families. After all, this is why we started in the first place! We had a difficult time finding safe, effective, and trustworthy products, so we decided to make our own. Being that we own our manufacturing facility, we can be absolutely sure that every product is made with the efficacy and outstanding quality that we happily maintain. So, if you’re looking for a reputable brand, congratulations, you’ve already found it! To learn more about our quality standards we have gladly shared information about our factory. And better yet, we produce children’s vitamins too, with some of the best ingredients available.
Children’s Vitamins From Aarja Health
Currently, we’ve got two incredible children’s vitamins available - Vitamin C with Bilberry and Vitamin D3 with Bilberry. Both of these tasty chewables contain no unnecessary additives, sugar, and food coloring. With the great flavour of natural, Nordic bilberry your children will love the taste, and you can rest-assured knowing that they’re taking products with unbeatable quality standards.
Whatever the time of year, both Vitamin C and Vitamin D3 with Bilberry support multiple aspects of children’s health, including immunity, brain and neurological health, strong teeth and so much more! Head on over to our shop today, for healthier kids tomorrow!