How to properly choose your children's vitamins

Friday, April 27, 2012 by: Willow Tohi
Tags: children, vitamins, health

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(NaturalNews) The human body requires a broad range of nutrients, both essential and nonessential, to maintain balance and good health. Essential nutrients are the ones the body cannot make for itself (or are produced in limited amounts) and must therefore be consumed through diet. The human body also requires many minerals, which are present in every cell of the body, to function properly.

Of course, getting our nutrients and minerals from the food we eat is the best scenario. Since that is not possible for most people due to the pace of our world and how our food supply is governed, most of us need a multi-mineral and multivitamin to bridge the nutrient gap.

For a list of what foods have the vitamins and minerals your child needs, visit

According to the USDA half of youngsters don't get enough calcium, two-thirds are low on E and zinc, and one-third don't have enough iron. Kids low on calcium and D may have weak bones that are more prone to break. Children with even mild anemia from low iron levels can have learning and behavior problems. And, since children are often picky eaters and exposed to extra germs, all while growing, they greatly benefit from vitamins and minerals.

What to look for in children's vitamins

The next best thing to getting your nutrients from good food, is to get a food-based vitamin. These vitamins are recognizable to the human body on a molecular level, unlike synthetic (manmade) vitamins. This means that vitamins from a health food store are up to 70% more bioavailable than the vitamins you see advertised on t.v., or at chain stores. Supplements from a chain store may be less expensive, but you get what you pay for. For example, a calcium supplement from a chain store may be less expensive but what you may not realize is that it has not been molecularly distilled to remove mercury, while the one from the health food store has. It's worth a few more dollars.

What to avoid in a vitamin

Read the ingredient list. You'll be surprised how many vitamins have some form of sugar as one of the first ingredients. Avoid synthetic ingredients - they are difficult to digest and not as safe as supplements made from whole foods. Lastly, avoid the gummy. Not to be a downer, but we are doing our children a disservice to teach them that things like food and vitamins should be entertaining. They are also bad for teeth.

What kinds of supplements to get for your child

A good rule of thumb for both kids and adults is:

• multivitamin/multi-mineral
• essential fatty acids (EFAs)
• calcium/magnesium/vitamin D supplement
• probiotics
• antioxidants

All as needed, depending on diet and state of health.

Other considerations

How healthy is your family's diet? For example, if your family eats fish three times a week, you don't need the EFA supplement. Do you allow your child to drink carbonated beverages? If so, they most likely need all of the supplements listed above, daily.

Next, consider your child's specific needs. If he has a poor health condition, if she plays sports, they will use more nutrients that then have to be replaced.

Consider having all five of the supplements listed above on hand, and use them as needed. When your child is ill, give them extra multis (if its food-based only). Follow antibiotics with the probiotics. When they have a growth spurt, give them the cal/mag/D supplement.

Giving your child supplements does not make up for a poor diet. Focus on offering healthy food choices, and use vitamins supplementally, when they are ill or under stress, or on a day they didn't eat enough fruits and vegetables. Vitamins are just one more tool for building a healthy life.

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