5 Things You Need To Know About Children And Vitamins

These days, it seems like there are vitamin and mineral supplement for everything and for everyone— babies, children, teens, men, women, and for old people. There are vitamins and mineral supplements intended to boost memory, increase bone health, or even to improve the heart health. However, is vitamin supplements 100% safe and beneficial for the children?  How can we determine if our child is in need of a vitamin supplement? Should all kids be taking the same vitamins?

Kids who eat balanced diets, obviously, shouldn't need to take supplements. However, children who are awfully picky eaters, or the children having certain health conditions or children due to some health issues compelled to follow restricted diets, etc. might be at risk of some deficiencies. In these instances, the child will be in need of a vitamin supplement.  Even then there are several factors that should be considered before opting for vitamin and mineral supplement for your baby.

#1. Never start without consulting the doctor:

Don't rush to buy vitamin supplement for your child before consulting a doctor. It is true that the vitamins are very important for children's health. However, you cannot self-prescribe it.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend discussing with the child's doctor or a registered dietician or nutritionist before opting your child a supplement. There is a recommended daily allowance of minerals and vitamins. The risks of consuming too many vitamins include ‘megadosing'. Megadoses of vitamins—for example, large amounts of vitamins A, C, or D—can bring about toxic symptoms, which range from nausea to rashes to headaches and sometimes to even more severe undesirable effects. Therefore, talk with your child's pediatrician before giving vitamin supplements to your child.

#2. Before putting a child in a vitamin regimen, evaluation of his or her physical condition is important:

Actually, most healthy children don't require multivitamins. Therefore, consider the physical condition of the child before deciding to put him or her on a vitamin regimen. If the child has a restricted diet, some sort of developmental growth issues, food allergies or a chronic disease or undergoing some treatments, the doctor himself will prescribe vitamin supplements. Likewise, the requirement of a child who is physically very active (like in sports; a few important minerals and vitamins for child athletes are calcium, iron and vitamin D) will differ from the normally active or less active child. All these things should be taken into consideration before putting a child in a vitamin regimen. Only a nutritionist or the child's doctor will be able to give you proper guidance.

#3. Age and gender of the child are very important factors that determine the needed vitamin and its dosage:

Yes, you read it right. The requirement of the vitamin and its dosage depends on the child's age and gender. Therefore, what you used to give your son may not suit your daughter. Children between two to three years require fewer calories, protein, vegetables, grains, and dairy compare to 4- to 8-year-olds. Similarly, small kids require less vitamin C. When the kids between 4 and 8 require 25 milligrams of vitamin C every day, children under four years require only 15 milligrams per day. Similarly, the nutrient requirement of a boy and girl varies during different phases of their growth.

#4. Some vitamins are hard for the child to digest:

This is an important fact you should keep in mind before trying to buy vitamin and mineral supplement for your child. Any vitamins intended for adult consumption are injurious to a child. It's a total misconception that the vitamins are harmless and the more you gobble the better. Do you know that the fat-soluble vitamins — that's vitamins D, E, A and K — are harder for an adult's body to get rid of. So imagine what it will do to a child's body if not properly taken? Too much of these vitamins can cause a lot of adverse effects and liver toxicity is one among them.

#5. Adorable looking vitamins aren't always the best ones:

These days, many vitamin and mineral supplements look and taste just like candies and chewing gums. Remember.. moms! Vitamins are not candies. In fact, it is better to steer away from gummy vitamins. Instead, it is better to use powder or oil dropper vitamins that can be added to food or drinks. Chewable vitamins and gummy vitamins that can lead to cavities as it contains artificial sweeteners and colors.