Nutrition power is every kid’s best defense against illness and the guideline for raising healthy kids requires providing them with a daily diet of a variety of healthy foods. But we all know that’s easier said than done. Kids are confronted by the temptation of packaged foods that typically are not part of a balanced diet. Some kids are picky eaters who just won’t bite at the wholesome foods their growing bodies need. And, truth be told, there are days when parents lose the edges of their life and have a hard time putting those healthy meals on the table. This is why a multivitamin and mineral supplement can be beneficial in supporting your child’s health.
Even if kids choose fresh foods over packaged most of the time, we have to remember that today’s food system is stressed by environmental factors such as natural disasters and use of chemicals. These environmental stressors lower the quality of the nutrients food should contain. This can lead to a deficit of essential dietary nutrients, which can lead to health issues.
Selection Considerations for Kids’ Multivitamin or Minerals
One look at the packed shelves in any pharmacy or grocery store shows you why it is so important to know what you are buying. The best way to acquire a supplement that has been properly formulated and addresses a child’s individual needs is to consult with a holistic practitioner who is trained in pediatric/adolescent nutrition.
If you do make the selection on your own, look for the following symbol on the product packaging and consider the tips that follow in your selection criteria.
USP Symbol. The U.S. Pharmacopeia is the only independent, not-for-profit, nongovernmental pharmacopeia in the world. USP sets quality, purity, strength, and identity standards for medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements. Look for the USP symbol on dietary and nutritional supplements.
Check labels to be sure the product is free from fillers, toxins, and added sugar. Products that feature cartoon characters are fun to look at, but upon closer inspection you’ll see they may lack the quality features that impact bioavailability.
Careful with the Gummies. The gummy variety of any supplement can contain refined sugars. Also, gummies can inadvertently send the wrong message to younger kids that vitamins are candy. If you must go with the gummies, look for one sweetened with natural fruit flavors.
Other selection criteria that may be of importance to you include GMO-free, organic certified, whole-food based, vegetarian or vegan friendly, allergen-free, and cruelty-free. These should be clearly marked on the label. You likely won’t find all of them in a single product, so prioritize what is important to you. If you are unsure, speak to your doctor or pediatrician who can make recommendations suited to your child’s individual needs.
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Gaby, A. Nutritional Medicine. Concord, N.H.: Fritz Perlberg Publishing: 2011.
DeSoto, CM., Naturopathic Pediatrics Blog: “What’s in Your Child’s Multivitamin?” Accessed 13 April 2021: https://naturopathicpediatrics.com/2015/06/13/whats-childs-multivitamin/
US Pharmacopeia: “Choosing a Quality Supplement.” Accessed 13 April 2021: https://qualitymatters.usp.org/choosing-quality-supplements
NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. “5 Things to Know About Safety of Dietary Supplements for Children and Teens.” Updated June 4, 2015. Accessed 13 April 2021: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/childsupplements
Skowron, J. M. Fundamentals of Naturopathic Pediatrics. Toronto: CCNM Press: 2009.