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Originally published February 11 2009

Children's Vitamins No Healthier than Candy

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Many children's vitamins contain so few nutrients in such low doses that they are no healthier than candy, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Center for Nutritional Education in conjunction with

"Parents need to be aware that a lot of the supplements for children contain only a very small number of vitamins," researcher Kate Neil said. "They look like sweets, taste like sweets and in a sense they are sweets."

Parents would be better off spending money to provide a healthier diet than buying many of the supplements, the researchers said.

Researchers evaluated the nutritional content of 14 vitamin supplements and a number of fish oil and omega-3 capsules available in the United Kingdom. Of the supplements tested, only five contained all 12 essential vitamins. Even supplements that contained a relatively large number of essential vitamins, the researchers found, often contained them in very low doses. Likewise, omega-3 and fish oil capsules often contained such low levels of omega-3 fatty acids that the researchers judged them "unlikely" to affect children's health or cognitive function.

The products ranked the highest were Animal Chews with Calcium, manufactured by Hollins, and Barrett and Kids A-Z, manufactured by Sanatogen. Animal Chews contain 12 essential vitamins in a vegetarian chewable tablet. Five of these are provided in quantities at or above the recommended daily allowance (RDA), while the other seven provide 33 to 83 percent of RDA.

Kids A-Z contains nine essential vitamins at 100 percent RDA, one at 50 percent and two at 17 percent. In contrast to Animal Chews, which contains only calcium, Kids A-Z also contains the minerals iodine, magnesium and zinc.

Right at the bottom of the list were Sainsbury's Chewable Raspberry and Bassett's Soft and Chewy Omega 3. The former contains only eight essential vitamins at 50 percent RDA each, as well as zinc and iodine and 50 percent, iron at 25 percent and calcium at 17 percent. Soft and Chewy contains only four essential vitamins, at 100 percent RDA.

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