There are many young parents who are often looking for nutritional supplements for their children, especially in the winter months. But when does a child really need a supplement and which one to choose?
In general, all experts agree that if a child is properly nourished and has variety in his nutrition, then he/she doesn’t need to take extra vitamins or other kids supplements. However, there are some cases where deficiencies in vitamins and minerals are observed such as:
- If a vegetarian diet is followed
- If there is a chronic illness that affects the absorption of nutrients eg celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome etc
- If he has had surgery that affected the digestive system
- When the child is a picky eater and has no variety in his diet.
Vegetarianism and children
Very often vegetarian children are deficient in ingredients such as vitamin B12 and vitamin D, as well as in iron, calcium and zinc, especially when they do not eat any products of animal origin. If blood tests show that there are deficiencies, a kid’s diet should be well designed by a nutritionist and if necessary supplements should be taken under a professional’s opinion. In addition, the pediatrician should frequently monitor his or her development to be the right one for his or her age.
Strengthening the immune system
The common phenomenon of young children getting sick at the beginning of a school year, but also later in the winter, when the flu is well spread, has led many parents to look for solutions to boost their children’s immunity.
One of the safest options is to give them probiotics. First, you can increase your intake from foods by choosing yogurt with cultivation, kefir, aryan, and other fermented products. Plus, there are also probiotic supplements for children in the form of powder or drops, which you can mix with your child’s yogurt or cold drink.
If your pediatrician agrees, there are herbal supplements for boosting the immune system, which may contain propolis, royal jelly, echinacea, vitamin C. Attention should be given when taking such a supplement, as herbs like echinacea are not suitable for long-term intake, but for approximately 3 weeks.
Vitamin D has been shown to help boost both the immune and muscular systems and is now recommended by pediatricians in the first months of an infant’s life, especially if he/she is breastfeeding.
When the child doesn’t eat
In many cases, kids become picky eaters with lots of foods, even if they used to eat them until yesterday! Indeed, several studies have been carried out on this subject, showing that picky eaters often have lower intake of micronutrients, such as iron and zinc. This is a result of lower consumption of meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. (1)
If this persists for a long time, it is likely that deficiencies will occur and your pediatrician may recommend a multivitamin for kids. However, you should not count on it, as this is a temporary emergency solution. The priority is to teach your child to eat everything, or even if he or she avoids specific foods, you should research from what alternative food sources can get the same nutrients.
Problems in development
Sometimes, children that don’t eat much, may have development problems, such as reduced weight and height depending on their age. If this is the case, it is best not to arbitrarily take a supplement yourself, but to consult a specialist.
Chronic diseases and nutrition in children
When a child has a chronic illness, hyper metabolism is often observed, meaning the body has higher requirements for nutrients and calories as it tries to cope with the disease. In addition, in cases such as celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome, the intestine is damaged, resulting in insufficient absorption of micronutrients. In other cases, the body has difficulty in metabolizing fats resulting in difficulty in absorbing the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
Vitamins for children athletes
A very common occurrence is the parents of athletes trying to find supplements for their children, either because they believe that this is the only way to meet their needs, whether to achieve better performance or even for them to gain height! It is very important to understand that if a child’s increased needs are met by nutrition, then there will be no problem.
In addition, it is advisable not to take a supplement according to coaches, but after taken the advice by a specialist who knows the child’s health history. Overloading the body with various nutrients can have various side effects such as nausea, kidney problems and more.
In general, despite the fact that kids supplements are carefully designed and meet their needs, it is crucial not to exaggerate. Consult a specialist if you believe your child needs them and focus on a healthy diet!
Find at Vita4you.gr a variety in kids supplements.