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Supplements For Kids

Vitamins and minerals are important elements in the total nutritional requirements of your child. Because the human body itself is unable to produce adequate amounts of many vitamins and minerals, they must be obtained from the diet. The body needs these vitamins and minerals in tiny amounts. They should be present in sufficient quantities in a balanced diet. Thus, supplements are rarely needed.

However, given the reality of hectic lifestyle of parents nowadays, those well-rounded, nutrition-rich, home-cooked meals are not always possible. That is why it is important to take a daily multivitamin or mineral supplement for:

  • Kids who aren’t eating regular, well-balanced meals made from fresh, whole foods
  • Fussy eaters who simply aren’t eating enough
  • Kids with chronic medical conditions such as asthma or digestive problems, especially if they are taking medications
  • Kids eating a lot of fast foods, convenience foods, and processed foods
  • Kids on a vegetarian or a vegan diet (they may need an iron supplement), a dairy-free diet (they may need a calcium supplement), or other restricted diets
  • Kids who drink a lot of carbonated sodas, which can leach vitamins and minerals from their bodies

Important vitamins and minerals for kids:

  • Vitamin A promotes normal growth and development; tissue and bone repair; healthy skin; and immune responses. Apart from beta-carotene, vitamin A is essential for good vision. Good natural sources include milk, cheese, eggs, and yellow-to-orange vegetables like carrots.
  • Vitamin B. The family of B vitamins (B2, B3, B6, and B12) aid metabolism, energy production, and healthy circulatory and nervous systems. Good sources include meat, chicken, fish, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese, beans, and soybeans.
  • Vitamin C promotes healthy muscles, connective tissue, skin and boost immune system. Good sources include citrus fruit, strawberries, kiwi, tomatoes, and green vegetables like broccoli.
  • Vitamin D promotes bone and tooth formation and helps the body absorb calcium. Good sources include milk and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. The best natural source of vitamin D is sunlight.
  • Calcium. If your children eat dairy or fortified foods (soy milk, orange juice, tofu), they may be getting plenty. If not, consider giving them supplements with calcium as well as magnesium and vitamin D, which growing bones need to absorb calcium.
  • It’s harder for most kids to get enough magnesium from foods (dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains) than it is to get calcium, so it is important to take a supplement. Beyond bones, magnesium supports muscle and nerve function. It can also improve kids’ sleep regularity and mood. Low magnesium levels have been linked to ADHD and hyperactivity.
  • Another building block for a healthy immune system. This trace mineral also supports the senses of taste and smell. Picky eaters who crave sugar may be deficient. It’s essential for sexual development at puberty. If your children don’t eat a lot of zinc-rich red meat, they may need to supplement. Chicken and beans are also good sources.
  • Iron builds muscle and is essential to healthy red blood cells. Iron deficiency is a risk in adolescence, especially for girls once they begin to menstruate. Good sources include beef and other red meats, turkey, spinach, beans, and prunes.

Omega-3. Unless your child is eating three or more servings a week of fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna), he likely needs fish oil. EPA and DHA, the omega-3 essential fatty acids in fish oil, are critical for the development and healthy function of the eyes and brain, and they reduce the risk of aggression, depression, and ADHD in kids. Omega-3 also help prevent and treat allergies and asthma.

  • Probiotics. These friendly gut bacteria improve digestion, ease constipation, and support the immune system. Kids can get probiotics from eating yoghurt, but the high sugar content in flavoured yoghurts diminishes the benefits. Use supplements to boost immunity anytime, especially during and after taking antibiotics.

Sources:

  1. WebMD https://www.webmd.com
  2. Healthy Children https://www.healthychildren.org
  3. Delicious Living http://deliciousliving.com
  4. Healthy-Kids http://healthy-kids.com.au