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Children's Day: Do Children Really Need Supplements?

Children are like clay; you can mold them into whatever shape you desire. That is why you must make sure to provide them with the right environment to grow and learn and, most importantly, give them adequate nutrition for their healthy development and growth. You can ensure that they are getting the right amout of vitamins and minerals by investing in multivitamin for children.

When it comes to nutrition, diet alone is not enough, especially in the case of kids. Because of this, several parents opt for nutritional supplements. Why do kids need supplements? Well, read along to find out.

Importance of Nutrition in Kids

As children grow, nutrition becomes an important part of their daily life. Healthy eating and nutrition can: -

  • Provide stable energy

  • Prevent harmful diseases

  • Improve mental health

  • Improve concentration and ability to think

  • Make the bones and teeth strong

Undernutrition has critical consequences and can affect your kid's brain, cognitive skills, and immune system, leading to delayed behavioral development and motor skills. That is why nutrition is necessary.

Healthy food is a must in your child's diet to ensure they stay healthy throughout and from the inside out. You can choose lean meat, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Whole grains, bread, and cereals are foods rich in fiber and good for digestion and gut health.

However, limit the quality of refined sugars, sodium, trans fats, refined grains, and saturated fats. It is better to avoid or limit the intake of foods that are low in nutrients.

If you provide the perfect diet to your kid, they'll get all the necessary nutrients and vitamins. And most pediatricians even agree that parents' first and major source for their children is their diet.

However, considering the super busy schedules of parents, it might get hard for them to prepare healthy meals all day long. Also, most children are picky eaters and won't agree to eat everything healthy. That is why supplements and multivitamins for children are useful.

How Different Diets Can Affect Nutrient Intake in Kids

Kids can have a restrictive diet like vegan or vegetarian diets, or due to health issues, etc. In such cases, parents must be extra careful in filling the nutrient gaps made by these restrictive diets.

For example, in vegan and vegetarian diets, it gets tough to get iron and Vitamin B12. Children that have food allergies or intolerances or are lactose intolerant lack calcium. Also, some kids have other chronic conditions like coeliac disease or Crohn's disease, making it hard for them to absorb nutrients from the food.

In these cases, a healthy diet isn't enough to provide the kids with all the nutrients. One of the best ways is introducing multivitamins and supplements in their diets.

Even if your kid is on a healthy diet, modern industrial farming practises can lead to a loss of nutrients, so food by itself won’t be enough to bridge the nutritional gap.

When Do Children Need Supplements?

Infants that are breastfed need Vitamin D supplementations. Vitamin D is something most children lack in their diets. So, it is better to include Vitamin D multivitamins for children as a part of their daily diet.

Picky eaters can also be a huge reason for parents to provide supplementation. And according to a study, picky eating is strongly associated with a lack of iron and zinc. So, adding a supplement to their diet might help.

However, remember that nutritious supplements won't do much if your kid doesn't eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet is a must because supplements' supplement the nutrients they lack. They're not a replacement for healthy food.

To figure out what supplements your child needs, take a good look at their diet and see what is lacking. Vitamin D, vitamin D3, Iron, and B12 are nutrients commonly missing in kids' diets. You can see your healthcare professional in case you need guidance. Remember, good food is the priority, and supplements and multivitamins come second.

Beneficial Supplements and Multivitamins for Children's Growth

While most parents try to feed their kids the best foods full of nutrients and minerals, there can be some cases of nutritional imbalances. But do not worry. With the help of certain supplements and multivitamins for children, things can get back on track. Here are a few supplements to add to your kids' diet:

  • Probiotics - Probiotics supplements are great for nourishing the gut bacteria in the body. They can help relieve constipation and prevent certain infections, diarrhea, eczema, and allergies.

  • Omega 3 – The essential omega -3 fatty acid supplements are beneficial in numerous ways for kids and play a huge role in their development.

  • Vitamins – Vitamins supplements are helpful in cognitive development, healthy functioning of the brain, and building of strong bones. Water and fat-soluble vitamins also help improve their vision and immunity and protect them from harmful infections.

  • Minerals – Just like vitamins, minerals hold importance in your kid's diet. You must add mineral supplements to their diets to ensure proper development, growth, and healthy functioning of the body. A few crucial minerals include calcium and magnesium.

Wrapping Up

We can conclude that supplements play a role in kids' diet and nutrition. You can consider supplements as an insurance policy, especially if your kid's pediatrician allows it. But make sure you choose the right supplement, considering all the factors (safety, side effects, brand, and rating). And remember, the supplements must not take the place of a healthy diet that the kids need for healthy growth and development.

References

  • Rytter MJ, Kolte L, Briend A, Friis H, Christensen VB. The immune system in children with malnutrition--a systematic review. PLoS One. 2014 Aug 25;9(8):e105017. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0105017. PMID: 25153531; PMCID: PMC4143239. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4143239/

  • Keast DR, Fulgoni VL 3rd, Nicklas TA, O'Neil CE. Food sources of energy and nutrients among children in the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003–2006. Nutrients. 2013 Jan 22;5(1):283-301. doi: 10.3390/nu5010283. PMID: 23340318; PMCID: PMC3571649. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3571649/

  • Bahadir A, Reis PG, Erduran E. Oral vitamin B12 treatment is effective for children with nutritional vitamin B12 deficiency. J Paediatr Child Health. 2014 Sep;50(9):721-5. doi: 10.1111/jpc.12652. Epub 2014 Jun 18. PMID: 24944005. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24944005/

  • Tan ML, Abrams SA, Osborn DA. Vitamin D supplementation for term breastfed infants to prevent vitamin D deficiency and improve bone health. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Dec 11;12(12):CD013046. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013046.pub2. PMID: 33305822; PMCID: PMC8812278. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33305822/

  • Mantadakis E, Chatzimichael E, Zikidou P. Iron Deficiency Anemia in Children Residing in High and Low-Income Countries: Risk Factors, Prevention, Diagnosis and Therapy. Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis. 2020 Jul 1;12(1):e2020041. doi: 10.4084/MJHID.2020.041. PMID: 32670519; PMCID: PMC7340216. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340216/

  • Depoorter L, Vandenplas Y. Probiotics in Pediatrics. A Review and Practical Guide. Nutrients. 2021 Jun 24;13(7):2176. doi: 10.3390/nu13072176. PMID: 34202742; PMCID: PMC8308463. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8308463/

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