Children's bodies are growing and changing. That's why they need a constant source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals to fuel that growth. Children need minerals and vitamins for building strong bones, for healthy cells, for immune health and for the function of all the organs in the body. Their bodies can't make them so they must get them from diet or supplements.
Can All Kids Meet Their Nutritional Needs Through Diet?
Not all children eat a balanced diet. Some kids are finicky eaters and don't like the taste of vitamin and mineral-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Kids that refuse to eat certain foods run the risk of nutritional deficiencies. These deficiencies can interfere with their growth and development. Some kids eat a diet that restricts particular foods due to food allergies. Some eat a vegetarian diet. Children that eat diets that lack certain foods may be at greater risk for nutritional deficiencies.
What benefits does a multivitamin offer? Multivitamins for children for children provide vitamins and minerals kids need and may be missing from their diet. They help to fill in dietary "gaps." Some multivitamin and mineral supplements for kids contain higher levels of certain vitamins and minerals. For example, some are formulated with added vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for a healthy immune system. A healthy immune system helps kids fight off colds and viruses. Some contain probiotics, gut-friendly bacteria that support intestinal and immune health.
Nutritional Support for Infants
During a child's early months of life, the brain is rapidly developing, building the framework that will be carried throughout life. A nutrient called DHA is vital for building a healthy brain and for vision. Some research shows kids that get more of this nutrient during infancy have higher scores on tests that measure intelligence although more research is needed. The best natural source of DHA is fish.
Infants that are breast-fed and those that are born prematurely are at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency. Infant formula is enriched with vitamin D and breastfed babies may not get formula. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants that don't drink at least a liter of infant formula each day need supplemental vitamin D. They also recommend that infants born prematurely get supplemental vitamin D and calcium. If you have a baby born prematurely, talk to your baby's doctor about this.
Choosing Vitamins for Infants and Children
For children, vitamins come in a variety of forms. You can choose from great-tasting chewable tablets or gummy bears in flavors kids love. If your child has food allergies or sensitivities, look for one that's free of soy, nuts, milk, eggs, wheat or peanuts and is naturally-flavored. Infant supplements are available as a liquid you can drop directly into their mouth or mix with breast milk, juice or formula.
Before choosing a multivitamin or supplement for your child, talk to your pediatrician. He or she can make recommendations based on your child's age and health history.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of purity, strength, or safety of the products. As a result, effects may vary. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking a supplement as supplements may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking a supplement. Consult a healthcare provider if you experience side effects.