Supplements for Children

Infants, children and teenagers are especially in need good nutrition to grow and develop into hearty adults. This is the time to establish healthy, wholesome eating habits in them.

They should eat a wide variety of nutritious foods including fresh fruits and vegetables every day, but that's not always an easy accomplishment with a fussy toddler or defiant tween. With today's processed, packaged and fast food diet, many kids are not eating as well as they should be.

Proportionate to their size, children require more of certain vitamins and minerals than adults do. They need more of the B vitamins to help them extract energy out of food, and may require a nutritious snack or two between regular meals to give them the proper fuel to grow, learn and play. For strong bones and teeth, they need plenty of calcium.

Girls have a growth spurt around the age of ten and boys around twelve, so this is the time to be especially conscious of their calcium intake. They also require plenty of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium and prevents rickets. Children who don't spend much time in the sun may need vitamin D supplements. Vitamin K is also necessary for strong bone development.

Plenty of antioxidant-rich vitamin C is also recommended to fight infections and help absorb iron, a lack of which can lead to fatigue and poor concentration. Young, growing children also need plenty of vitamin A and zinc.

Talk to your doctor about supplements if you suspect diet alone will not provide the proper vitamins and minerals for your child. Some infants require iron and fluoride supplements. Kids over two may benefit from a liquid multivitamin squirted in their juice or milk.

There are a variety of chewable multivitamin brands on the market, in all sorts of shapes and flavors to appeal to the discerning kiddie pallet. Try to stay away from brands that are full of artificial colorings, flavorings and preservatives. Teenagers might be ready for a standard multivitamin.

Just check with your physician, nutritionist or holistic practitioner to ensure the doses of the various vitamins and minerals are age-appropriate.

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