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Do Your Kids Need Vitamin Supplements?

  • 5 min read

by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

As a parent, do you often ever wonder if your kid is getting enough vitamins and minerals to maintain their health, growth, development, and well-being? If so, you are not alone! Many parents question if they should be giving their kids vitamin supplements.

Many parents are unsure how to provide their kids with the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy and avoid deficiencies. It is because vitamins are essential for many bodily functions, so it’s important to make sure your child is getting the micronutrients they need.

In this article, we are going to dive deeper into the importance of vitamins and vitamin supplements for children, why they need vitamins, and tips for ensuring they get the nutrients they need. So, let’s get started!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your child’s pediatrician before changing their diet or adding vitamin supplements to their nutritional regimen.

Do Kids Need Vitamin Supplements?

To be more specific, kids who have a healthy and balanced diet don’t need any vitamin supplements if they are eating a diet full of healthy fruits and vegetables.

However, depending on the age group or nutrient requirements, your children may need certain vitamin supplements.

For example, while it is considered rare, infants are at risk of a vitamin D deficiency. It is because breast milk is not enough to provide adequate amounts of vitamin D. Most infants need an additional source of vitamin D, especially right after birth.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is not recommended to supplement more than the recommended dietary allowances for children over one year who eat a healthy and balanced diet.

Instead, they should consume fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and protein foods for proper nutrition. All of this contains the proper nutrients required for a kid’s overall growth and development.

When Do Kids Need Vitamin Supplements?

Now, let’s say your child consumes a proper and balanced diet. Does that mean they don’t need any type of vitamin supplements? Well, that depends.

There are certain situations where kids need vitamin supplements even if they have a proper diet. For instance, here are some examples of when your child may need vitamin supplements to fill nutrient deficiencies:

·         Vegan diet

If your kid follows a vegan diet, they’re at a higher risk of nutrient deficiencies like calcium, zinc, iron, and vitamins B12 and D if they consume no animal products, as per studies.

Moreover, Vitamin B12 is found in animal products, and since vegans don’t consume them, it becomes important to consume replacements like vitamin supplements. It is because a lack of vitamin B12 can lead to serious issues like developmental delays and atypical growth.

However, it is possible to get adequate nutrients from the plant-based diet too, given you incorporate food that contains vitamins and minerals, shows studies.

·         Increased nutrients need

Kids with certain conditions like celiac disease or IBD find it difficult to absorb vitamins and minerals like zinc, iron, and vitamin D. It is because such conditions damage the gut area that is responsible for absorbing micronutrients.

Moreover, kids with cystic fibrosis have difficulty absorbing fat and fat-soluble vitamins like A, B, E, and K. In addition to that, children who have cancer and other diseases may have more nutrient needs and might need vitamin supplements to prevent malnutrition.

·         Picky eaters

If your child is a picky eater, they may have a low intake of many vital micronutrients.

As per a study of 937 kids (aged 3-7 years), picky eating is often linked with a low iron and zinc intake.

So, if you feel that your kid is an extremely picky eater or does not consume a variety of food, it is better to get them tested for nutritional deficiencies and move forward with vitamin supplements to meet the body’s needs if a doctor recommends doing so.

How Do You Ensure Your Kids Get Adequate Micronutrients?

To ensure that your kids get proper nutrients, make sure that they consume a variety of nutritious food items. Incorporate a wide range of vegetables, fruits, dairy products, whole grains, and lean protein sources to make sure that your child gets the micronutrients they need.

You can try various dishes to include in your kid’s routine to help accomplish this. However, if you still feel your child is not getting enough nutrients, try incorporating vitamin supplements into your kid’s diet, but make sure to consult your child’s pediatrician first.