Supplements and Children: Are They Necessary? “Does my youngster require a nutritional supplement?” As a dietitian, this is one of the most frequently asked questions by concerned parents. “Perhaps,” is the short response.
There are numerous factors that influence whether or not a youngster requires a multivitamin or specific supplements. A youngster that eats a well-balanced diet should not require any additional supplements in most cases. However, many youngsters with health difficulties or different dietary habits may be at risk for deficiencies, indicating the need for additional nutrients. If they:
- Follow a vegetarian or vegan diet
- if they have behavioural disorders such as ADHD, attention issues, hyperactivity, or autism.
- celiac disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, or inflammatory bowel disease are all conditions that decrease nutrient absorption or raise the need for nutrients (IBD)
- have undergone surgery on the intestines or stomach
- are fussy eaters who have difficulty eating a wide variety of foods
- reside in places of the world where nutrients, such as vitamin D, are required
Some Important Nutrients for Children
The nutrient requirements of a child are determined by factors such as age, gender, size, growth, and activity level.
There are a few vitamins and minerals that stand out as key contributors to optimal health in children, despite the fact that they are all necessary.
This mineral is extremely important for a child’s health and optimal development. It aids in the transport of oxygen throughout the body by red blood cells. It plays a key role in the health of the immune system too. Anaemia and other serious health problems can result from an iron shortage. As a result, ensure your child’s diet has enough iron. Iron is found in whole grains, beans, nuts, fortified cereal, beans, lentils, green leafy vegetables, meats, etc.
One of the most important minerals for children is calcium. It is primarily important for the formation of strong bones and teeth. Nerves, muscles, and the heart also require it. As a result, getting enough calcium during the developing years is critical. Milk, cheese, yoghurt, spinach, sesame seeds, and a variety of other foods can assist the body replenish its calcium levels.
Vitamin D aids calcium absorption. It also contributes to the development of stronger bones and teeth. Other health benefits of vitamin D include enhanced immunity, improved brain function, and improved nervous system performance.
It is normally manufactured by our bodies in the presence of sunlight. It is also found in fish oils, fortified milk and cereals.
Vitamin D deficiency affects a large number of children and nowadays is the most common nutrient deficiency in the developed world. Therefore, supplementation of this vitamin is generally recommended.
This mineral is frequently overlooked. It is necessary for key things in children’s lives, like bone development and proper muscle and neuron function. Magnesium insufficiency is commonly the source of ailments like muscle cramps and spasms, but there are a few lesser-known symptoms that may surprise you.
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Sleepless nights
Good sources of magnesium include oysters, cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, etc.
If your child eats a restricted diet, has trouble absorbing nutrients, or is a fussy eater, a supplement may be beneficial. Before offering supplements to your child, always consult a healthcare expert. When selecting a supplement, search for high-quality brands that have undergone third-party testing.
Not to mention, buy vitamins designed exclusively for children and make sure they don’t contain megadoses that exceed a child’s daily nutrient requirements.
Children’s Safety Precautions
When vitamin or mineral supplements are taken in excess, they can be toxic. This is especially true for the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are stored as fat in the body. It’s worth noting that gummy vitamins, in particular, are easy to overeat. They can resemble candy in appearance and flavour. To avoid inadvertent overdose, keep vitamins out of reach of small children.
Food normally meets the nutritional needs of children who consume a healthy, balanced diet.
Individuals with behavioural issues such as ADHD, finicky eaters, youngsters with a health condition that inhibits nutrient absorption or raises nutrient demands, or those who consume a vegetarian or vegan diet may need vitamin supplements. Choose high-quality products that include suitable dosages of vitamins for children when giving them.