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Do kids need vit­a­mins, or should I give my child vit­a­mins? There is no doubt that it’s cru­cial for kids to get enough vit­a­mins in their diet, but do we actu­al­ly need to be giv­ing them vit­a­mins sup­ple­ment to fill in the nutri­tion­al gaps? So, what is a nutri­tion­al gab?  A nutri­tion­al gap is a defi­cien­cy of any of the vit­a­mins or min­er­als and can affect opti­mal health. A sup­ple­ment is a way to “sup­ple­ment” your child’s diet and fill any poten­tial nutri­tion­al gaps.  Every­one wants their chil­dren to be healthy, ener­getic and hap­py. But some­times, that end goal can feel overwhelming! Most pedi­a­tri­cians agree that a parent’s first line of defence should be a healthy diet. Giv­en the real­i­ty of time-crunched par­ents, those fresh­ly home-cooked meals aren’t always achievable. 

So, we need first to know: What Nutrients Do Kids Need?

Do kids need vitamins l Should I give my child vitamins

Do kids need vitamins l Should I give my child vitamins

Good nutri­tion starts by intro­duc­ing a wide vari­ety of fresh, whole foods as much as pos­si­ble. You can spread the vari­ety of foods into var­i­ous small meals and snacks all over the day.  Your kids should get their vit­a­mins from a healthy, bal­anced diet that includes:
  • Plen­ty of green veg­eta­bles, fresh fruits, and leafy, 
  • Dairy prod­ucts like yogurt and cheese and milk.
  • Pro­tein like meat, chick­en, eggs, and fish
  • Whole grains like brown rice and steel-cut oats and
For all what we men­tioned of being hard to achieve those nutri­ents goal, it’s why some pedi­a­tri­cians may rec­om­mend a dai­ly mul­ti­vi­t­a­min or min­er­al sup­ple­ment under cer­tain cir­cum­stances like with:
  • Chil­dren with celi­ac or inflam­ma­to­ry bow­el dis­eases may have dif­fi­cul­ty absorb­ing sev­er­al vit­a­mins and min­er­als, espe­cial­ly iron, zinc and vit­a­min D. This is because these dis­eases cause dam­age to the areas of the gut that absorb micronutrients.
  • Chil­dren on a dairy-free diet (they may need a cal­ci­um sup­ple­ment), oth­ers on a veg­e­tar­i­an diet (they may need an iron sup­ple­ment), or oth­er restrict­ed diets.
  • Kids eat­ing a lot of con­ve­nience food, fast food, and processed food.
  • Chil­dren who drink a lot of sodas, which can wash away vit­a­mins and min­er­als from their bodies.
  • Chil­dren who aren’t eat­ing well-bal­anced, reg­u­lar meals made from fresh, whole foods
  • Fussy eaters who sim­ply aren’t eat­ing enough.

Do kids need vitamins l Should I give my child vitamins

If you decid­ed to go with some vit­a­mins sup­ple­ment for your kids, below are some experts’ tips for a suc­cess­ful go! 1- Always keep in mind to talk with your doc­tor about how much and what sources of sup­ple­ments are right for your child. 2- Pedi­a­tri­cians don’t rec­om­mend gum­my vit­a­mins as it is not good for kids’ teeth but if you decid­ed to go with them to attract your kids, just be sure to have them brush and floss their teeth well. 3- You’ll have to be cau­tious that your young kids mis­take these for can­dy and ingest too much from them. 4‑Be sure to talk with your kid’s doc­tor before start­ing a sup­ple­ment if your child is on any kind of medication. So, now we all know that kids require an amount from pret­ty much any vit­a­min out there, but there are some that real­ly mat­ter more than you might imagine.

Do kids need vitamins l Should I give my child vitamins

- Which Vitamins My Kids Need?

1- Vitamin D

Get­ting enough vit­a­min D is essen­tial so kids’ bones can grow strong and their immune sys­tems can turn away illness. Vit­a­min D gets into our body through the absorp­tion of sun­light and the inges­tion of food. From April through the end of Octo­ber, spend­ing just 15 to 30 min­utes out­side in the mid­dle of the day with hands and face exposed will stim­u­late the skin to make all the vit­a­min D your child needs.  Foods such as salmon, sar­dines, tuna, cod liv­er oil, and egg yolks con­tain a lot of vit­a­min D. Not all dairy prod­ucts are for­ti­fied with vit­a­min D, how­ev­er, so make sure to read the labels.

- When Vitamin D Supplements Are Helpful?

Dur­ing the fall and win­ter, it’s good to give your child a vit­a­min. Most over-the-counter children’s vit­a­mins con­tain 400 IU of vit­a­min D, which is the rec­om­mend­ed dai­ly allowance set by the FDA for infants and chil­dren less than 4 years of age. Chil­dren who are obese, who have dark skin, who rarely go out­side or who wear cloth­ing that cov­ers most of their skin may need sup­ple­ments to ensure they have ade­quate vit­a­min D lev­els all year round.  Dis­cuss your child’s med­ical his­to­ry and lifestyle with your doc­tor, and he/she can then deter­mine your child’s dai­ly vit­a­min D requirement.

2- Vitamin A

Vit­a­min A is impor­tant for healthy skin and nor­mal growth, and it also helps vision and tis­sue repair. Vit­a­min A can be found in rich quan­ti­ties in yel­low and orange veg­eta­bles, dairy prod­ucts, and liver.

- When Vitamin A Supplements Are Helpful?

Vit­a­min A sup­ple­ments aren’t nec­es­sary for most healthy chil­dren who are grow­ing nor­mal­ly. How­ev­er, if you believe your kids might have vit­a­min A defi­cien­cy because of low nutri­ents intake for what­ev­er rea­son, take the first step and talk to your doc­tor about your con­cerns and the appro­pri­ate dosage for your kid’s age.

3- Vitamin B

Vit­a­min B helps the body pro­duce red blood cells and assists in meta­bol­ic activ­i­ties. Vit­a­min B is found in meat, poul­try, fish, milk, eggs, whole grains, and enriched bread and cereals.

- When Vitamin A Supplements Are Helpful?

While most of the kids will be able to obtain enough Vit­a­min B through their diet alone, some chil­dren with aller­gies or dietary restric­tions or might not be able to get suf­fi­cient Vit­a­min B with­out supplements. It’s cru­cial to ensure that your child is get­ting enough Vit­a­min B to avoid Vit­a­min B defi­cien­cy. If you are wor­ried that your kid isn’t get­ting enough Vit­a­min B for any rea­son, talk to your doc­tor about your con­cerns and move ahead with know­ing the ade­quate dose.

4- Vitamin C

Vit­a­min C helps repair and form tis­sues, red blood cells, and bones. It helps your kid’s gums stay healthy and strength­ens your child’s blood ves­sels, min­i­miz­ing bruis­ing from scrapes and falls. Also, vit­a­min C helps cuts and wounds heal, boosts the immune sys­tem, and keeps infec­tions away. And it aids the body in absorb­ing iron from oth­er food sources.

- When Vitamin C Supplements Are Helpful?

Chil­dren who are picky eaters and don’t eat many veg­eta­bles and fruits may not get enough vit­a­min C. If you’re con­cerned that your child does­n’t get enough vit­a­min C, ask your child’s doc­tor whether you need to boost your child’s intake. Your kid does­n’t have to get enough vit­a­min C every day. Instead, aim to get the rec­om­mend­ed amount as an aver­age over a few days or a week.

5- Iron

For both kids and adults, iron is an essen­tial min­er­al for growth and development. Espe­cial­ly for rapid­ly grow­ing kids, iron is a nec­es­sary nutri­ent. It per­mits the body to pro­duce hemo­glo­bin, which car­ries oxy­gen from the lungs in red blood cells through­out the body. Kids can get iron from beans, fish, turkey, beef and many others. If your kid’s diet lacks iron, he/she might devel­op a con­di­tion called an iron deficiency. Iron defi­cien­cy is a con­di­tion in which blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells. Untreat­ed iron defi­cien­cy can affect a child’s growth and development.

- When Iron Supplements Are Helpful?

Kids who are picky eaters or eat a pri­mar­i­ly veg­an diet may not get enough iron. Teen girls with heavy men­stru­al flows may need more iron intake; some dis­eases, like Crohn’s dis­ease, can cause low iron lev­els in kids. If you’re wor­ried about your child’s iron lev­els, talk with your doc­tor. They will take a sam­ple of your kid’s blood to test the amount of iron in the red blood cells. If your kid needs more iron, your doc­tor may pre­scribe an iron sup­ple­ment. Make sure to use it exact­ly as your doc­tor pre­scribes. It can take up to three months for the treat­ment to work.

6- Calcium

Dur­ing child­hood and into teenage years, kids need enough cal­ci­um to sup­port their grow­ing bones and teeth. Cal­ci­um is one of the body’s most essen­tial min­er­als. Also, it has oth­er cru­cial roles to play, includ­ing sup­port­ing a healthy mus­cle func­tion and ner­vous system. When chil­dren do not take in enough cal­ci­um, they are more sus­cep­ti­ble to devel­op­ing weak bones lat­er in life.

- When Calcium Supplements Are Helpful?

Ide­al­ly, kids should obtain an appro­pri­ate amount of cal­ci­um from their diet. How­ev­er, in cas­es where this is just not pos­si­ble for a par­tic­u­lar rea­son we have dis­cussed before or oth­ers to con­sid­er, a cal­ci­um sup­ple­ment spe­cial­ly for­mu­lat­ed for kids may be beneficial. A cal­ci­um-con­tain­ing sup­ple­ment will help top up your child’s cal­ci­um intake, help­ing them devel­op strong, healthy teeth and bone that will lay the foun­da­tion for opti­mal health in years to come.

7- Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Do kids need vitamins l Should I give my child vitamins

Do kids need vitamins l Should I give my child vitamins

Omega-3s are essen­tial fat­ty acids that help nour­ish the brain and keep it healthy. Omega-3s are part of the process of build­ing new cells — the key to flour­ish­ing the cen­tral ner­vous and car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tems and assist­ing the body to absorb nutri­ents. Omega‑3 fats also are essen­tial for eye function. To meet the rec­om­mend­ed dai­ly needs of omega‑3 fats for kids, look for these food sources: Salmon, Sar­dines, Pacif­ic Chub, Mack­er­el, Canned light tuna, Fresh­wa­ter Trout, Her­ring, Oys­ters, Shrimp, Beef, Flaxseeds, Wal­nuts, Chia seeds and Soybeans.

- When Omega 3 Fatty Acids supplements Are Helpful?

Omega 3 fat­ty acids are cru­cial for kids. They play a crit­i­cal role in growth and devel­op­ment and are asso­ci­at­ed with var­i­ous health benefits. How­ev­er, many par­ents are unsure whether omega‑3 sup­ple­ments are nec­es­sary — or even safe — for their children. The evi­dence on hav­ing ben­e­fits for kids is mixed. Stud­ies showed that in healthy school-age chil­dren, tak­ing an omega‑3 sup­ple­ment seems to have lit­tle effect on school per­for­mance and cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty. In kids who have Atten­tion Deficit Hyper­ac­tiv­i­ty Dis­or­der ( ADHD ), there appear to be more benefits. If you’re inter­est­ed in hav­ing your kid take an omega‑3 fat­ty acid dietary sup­ple­ment, make an appoint­ment to talk to your doc­tor first. He/she can review your kid’s cur­rent med­ica­tions, med­ical his­to­ry,  and over­all health, and based on those aspects, she/he will dis­cuss with you in more detail the poten­tial risks and ben­e­fits for your kid asso­ci­at­ed with using this supplement.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are var­i­ous vit­a­mins that your child needs to grow and stay healthy. This can take quite a lot of time to iden­ti­fy on your own, and even so, it can be hard to access all of those naturally. That’s why hav­ing the right vit­a­mins and sup­ple­ments can be great for your child. Yes, this is not going to be easy, but if you man­age it cor­rect­ly, noth­ing will be able to stand in your way for a bet­ter and healthy lifestyle for your pre­cious ones!  
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