According to the Nutrition Business Journal, children's supplements,
alone, are a $1+ billion industry? More than ever, parents are
purchasing supplements for their kids. And why wouldn't they? Today's
children are likely to eat a diet rich in processed and synthetic foods,
have health or behavioral problems and be overweight. As well, they may
not be getting adequate vitamin D through food or sunshine, be picky
eaters or having growth spurts that require additional nutrients.
So, what's recommended for 21st-century kids? Here's what we suggest, along with some supplement shopping tips.The Multivitamin
may know that their child should be taking a daily multivitamin on a
daily basis, but they may not know that majority of kid-marketed
supplements are loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners and coloring.
The cartoon characters can be enticing but, just as with food, the
ingredients determine the quality of the product. When we continue to
add sugar to foods (or supplements) so kids will consume them, we
continue to feed an obesity epidemic.
- Read the ingredient list. Avoid products that use artificial
ingredients, sweeteners or colors - especially colors that are not
listed as FD&C (FDA approved for use in food, drugs and cosmetics).
- The product should contain vitamin D (1000 I.U.) and folate (400
micrograms). For children who are lactose intolerant and growing teens,
you may want to select a supplement that includes calcium and magnesium
- Choose your gummies carefully. Some of them include several grams of
added sugar, which can add up to more than a teaspoon per serving!
Naturally sweetened, sugar-free options are available.
- Look for a quality assurance seal that indicates the product was created under strict manufacturing processes.
Life Time Fitness recently launched their Growing Healthy Multivitamin
, which has one of the highest nutrient profiles for a kid-friendly supplement. Omega-3 Fish Oil
modern diets are saturated in omega-6's and sparse in omega-3's,
supplementing with omega-3 has become a necessity. Omega-3's are
essential nutrients and their countless benefits for children include:
maintaining brain and gum health, decreasing depression symptoms, and
supporting optimal body composition.
- Only buy fish oil supplements that say "mercury free" on the bottle.
- Each capsule should contain at least 500 milligrams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
- Determine the source of fish oil to confirm quality. The best fish
oils come from small fish out of cold waters (north and south Atlantic
and Pacific oceans) vs. fish farms.
In an ideal world,
children would get what they need for vitamins, minerals and essential
fats from foods that are as close to natural as possible. However, most
of us consume food that's been altered and made deficient by modern
farming processes and other factors. Supplements provide a stopgap for
crucial nutrients we might be missing. Note that these recommendations
do not address a child's daily need for complete proteins. Although
protein deficiency is not common in the United States, you should refer
to your child's physician if you have any concerns about it.This
article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor
as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical
advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the
choice and risk of the reader.