Monthly Archives: December 2014
Do kids need to pop some vitamin supplements? Yes…No…Maybe…these are the answers you get when you go trawling the net for some. There are essentially two sides to the vitamin supplement camp. The Yes-es are saying, “Of course, kids do. They need all the vitamins and minerals they can get.” The eye-rolling No’s say, “It’s all a crock. Kids get everything they need from a well rounded diet.” Meanwhile, the Maybes are mulling over the points on their fences watching these two duke ‘em out.
I, however, happen to straddle the fence comfortably with each leg planted quite firmly on opposing sides. So, do kids need vitamin supplements? I say, “Yes and No.”
My Leg in Camp No
A well-balanced daily diet will give your kids all the vitamins and minerals they need to grow up healthy. When they are taking enough nutrients from their food, they do not need supplementation. To supplement means to add on to something because it is lacking. In this case, healthy kids with a balanced nutrition need no additional nutrients. In fact, having too much of a good thing can lead to bad. Too much iron, for instance, can be quite toxic in young children.
If your child has been eating right, sleeping right, and playing right…smile and relax. No need to worry that your kids are missing out on a good thing.
My Leg in Camp Yes
The world I know, however, isn’t perfectly round and that straight line in life always has its kinks. We have our super picky eaters, allergy ridden tots, chip and soda junkies, and kids on meds. Kids like these need a nutritional booster in a vitamin supplement.
I believe nothing can replace food as a primary source of nutrients. When faced with the problem, however, of kids that stubbornly will not or cannot get enough vitamins and minerals for whatever reason, you need to consult with their paediatrician on the best supplementation. Just what sort of kids really needs those vita pills?
Kids who won’t eat “real” food most of the time but love their food fast, processed, and canned need to be supplemented. Convenience food is a great time-saver on occasion; but as almost part of a daily diet, these just do not make the cut. Usually, food ads are the culprits in developing kids’ unfortunate cravings for foods high in fats, sodium, and sugar. You’ve got your work cut out for you if you have a daily battle on your hands just trying to get your child to eat healthier. While you’re at it though, some multivitamin supplements may be in order to fill in those nutritional holes.
Children or even teenagers who drink a lot of soda also need some kind of supplementation. Sodas are diuretics and these draw out calcium and other minerals from their bodies. While trying to curb a soda addiction in your child, it would help to give him some vitamin and mineral supplements. Consult with his doctor on the type of supplementation you need to give.
Kids on a restrictive diet, self-imposed or otherwise, need multivitamins. Some kids can be oddballs when it comes to food. They develop very strong preferences for certain food types, to the exclusion of others. My nephew was a vegetarian who, believe it or not, simply thrived on cucumbers, carrots, and potatoes to the exclusion of meat, fish, and some dairy products like milk. Although he was living on his veggies alright, his was on imbalanced diet. At their wit’s end, his non-vegetarian parents resorted to giving him nutritional supplements. That little nephew is 14 now and he’s eating fine, thank goodness. Having outgrown his strange diet, he is now supplement-free.
There are kids who have chronic medical ailments and are therefore on medications. These kids may have asthma, extreme allergic reactions, or even digestive problems, all requiring prescription drugs. Medications can make kids very fussy eaters; so, nutrient boosters may be a good idea to help round out their vitamin and mineral intake.
You may think that energetic and competitive kids do not need vitamin supplements; but, chances are, they do. Children engaged in highly competitive sports or in physically demanding activities need a lot more sustenance than their average counterparts. If your kids are physical overachievers, a kudos to them should be backed by much-needed vitamin supplementations to keep up their body’s demands.
Kids who fit any of the above categories can derive many benefits from vitamin supplements. Multivitamins come in a lot of forms…gels, fun pills, fizzy drinks, and even sprinkles. It won’t be difficult to find a supplement they will like. Before giving anything, however, always consult your child’s paediatrician.
In wrapping, let me just say…if it ain’t broke, nix the fix. If your child is living a balanced lifestyle, he or she won’t need supplements. Otherwise, consider asking your child’s doctor for a vitamin supplement recommendation.
So, which side are you on? Cheering for Team Yes or Team No? Or are you with me, waving the pom-poms for both?