The Benefits of Giving Children Supplements
Would you let your three year old play with a knife? Or your eight year old go to the mall alone? No. Definitely not. Why? Because parents all want what is best for their child. They want to keep them safe. They want to keep them healthy. While it may be obvious that a three year old should not have a knife, other choices might not be so clear. Something that comes to mind that’s a little harder to navigate is nutrition.
One of the most important decisions parents make on a daily basis involves what they feed their child. We hope to be able to give them the best, most nutritious foods out there. To give their little bodies the best chance at growing strong and healthy. But let’s face it, in today’s world everyone is busy, busy, busy. From working full time, to getting to little Lizzy’s ballet rehearsal or Jimmy’s baseball practice. Even trips to the doctor dentist help to fill schedules to the max. Gone are the days of nutritious home-cooked daily meals for most families. What has replaced those healthy home-cooked meal are drive thrus and energy bars.
These things, while certainly tasty, are not providing children with essential nutrients. Instead they are full of sugar and empty calories. Or, maybe you do steer clear of fast food and try your best to provide healthy foods for your child, but little Lizzy will only eat mac and cheese or hot dogs. We’ve all experienced a picky eater. What can be done about this? One way to provide additional nutrients for growing bodies is by giving them supplements.
Nutritional supplements for children come in many forms. They can be vitamins, minerals, plants and herbs, amino acids, or healthy fats that contribute to overall health and wellness. Providing these supplements to children is a great way to get them the necessary nutrients when it’s not possible to get them through diet alone.
Why your Child Should Be Taking Supplements
Supplements are almost a necessity today. They help to fill the nutritional void that fast food and processed, packaged foods are leaving. Even if a child has a rich, diverse diet full of healthy foods, there may be other reasons for needing to add supplements. Kids with chronic medical conditions, those who are extremely active, or ones on a vegetarian diet may also need additional supplements. It is important for children to have all the nutrients their bodies need from a young age in order for proper growth and development to occur. Not only do they need these nutrients to grow strong in the present, but also to ensure their future health as well.
Children’s supplements can provide the missing nutrients that their bodies may not be getting elsewhere. They can provide an added boost of immunity to fight off illness. They can give children what they need to feel and be their best.
Parents want their children to do well in school. They want them to be able to focus when it’s necessary, and to remember what they studied for the latest test. No one wants their child to struggle. Sometimes, a child may experience difficulties because of certain nutrient deficiencies. They may have trouble focusing, remembering, or problem solving. Supplementation of these key nutrients may reverse the effects and improve overall brain function, including memory and focus. While there are several good supplements that have potential for improving memory, B12 is essential for preventing memory loss.
Some of the most effective supplements for assisting in memory development of children are:
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Vitamin B Complex
Children behaving badly can set anyone’s nerves on fire. There’s nothing worse than trying to enjoy a nice dinner out or a movie and children nearby are being loud and disruptive. Just like with memory issues, behavioral problems can sometimes be improved by providing supplementation of key nutrients that the body may be lacking. Certain difficulties that may be helped with supplements include aggression, inattention, and impulsiveness often present in children with ADHD.
Some of the most effective supplements for assisting in behavioral problems of children are:
- Omega 3 And Other Essential Fatty Acids
- Vitamin B Complex
Children get sick. It’s expected. But does it have to be that way? Is it an unavoidable part of growing up that must be accepted?
Maybe not. It has been shown that certain vitamins and intestinal friendly bacteria may keep little ones from getting frequent visits from the neighborhood cold and flu bugs. Along with a good diet and making sure they get plenty of rest, supplements can help to eliminate toxins in the body. They can also give the immune system a boost in order to protect against viruses and illness causing bacteria.
Some of the most effective supplements for assisting in children’s immune function are:
Prevents Childhood Illnesses
Preventing illnesses in children is just wishful thinking, right? Is it possible to really prevent them from getting sick? While it’s not a guarantee, there is something that can be done to give their bodies the best fighting chance.
That something is giving them nutritional supplements. Supplements have been shown to provide many benefits. One of those benefits may be in aiding the body in the fight to prevent illness. Keeping the body consistently supplied with the nutrients it needs can go a long way in helping it fight off bacteria or a virus it comes in contact with. Avoiding processed grains and sugars, getting enough sleep, and exercising are also important to keep little ones healthy. Doing these things and also adding key supplements may be just what is needed to eliminate so many sick days and keep them in school.
Which supplements should be given to keep kids feeling their best? Everyone knows that Vitamin C helps to give the immune system a boost. There are so many Vitamin C supplements available that are marketed for preventing and fighting colds. Vitamin D also aids in keeping the immune system in tip top shape to fight infection. A recent study showed that children who took a Vitamin D supplement were 40% less likely to get the flu. Probiotics build up friendly bacteria to help with digestion, allergy relief, and also immune support. Zinc is another nutrient that, while not believed to prevent illness, it has been shown to reduce the length of the common cold.
So, while it is a fact that illness will still happen somewhere along the way, maybe with the addition of supplements it will happen a little less.
Every parent wants their child to grow healthy and strong. Popeye said to eat spinach for incredible strength. Or, they also say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if children would eat these and other health superfoods every day? Of course. But in reality, they won’t. A great alternative is providing supplements. They are easy to take and come in flavors that children love. They are available as multivitamins, as well as individual supplements that can be tailored to meet certain needs.
In today’s fast paced world it’s not always possible for children to get the nutrients they need for healthy growth from diet alone. That’s why many parents choose to give their children multivitamins. A multivitamin is a supplement that has many vitamins, minerals, and other key nutrients that the body needs all rolled into one. There are many varieties available on the market today. From the popular Flintstones brand that has been around since 1968, to modern gummies or more natural ones made without artificial dyes or flavors. There is truly a multivitamin to fit everyone’s needs.
These vitamins provide some nutrients for children, but even then sometimes that is not enough. Additional children’s supplements can be helpful based on the needs of the individual child. For instance, if a child needs immune support or extra help with bone or teeth health, just adding Vitamin C or calcium would provide the extra help needed. Or, with the okay of a doctor, adding them along with the multivitamin might be the best solution.
We know children need vitamins and minerals in order for their bodies to grow and develop properly. When choosing a multivitamin, make sure it includes the following:
Parents often tell children not to sit too close to the television or it will ruin their eyes. While there are many ways for children to strain their eyes, including the ever popular use of tablets and cell phones, there are things that can be done that are good for eyes. Taking Vitamin A, for example, is great for eye health. It plays a vital role in eyesight, particularly night vision and seeing colors. Imagine seeing only in black and white. Imagine all that would be missed. No, thank you.
Not only that, but Vitamin A is also an immune booster, helping little bodies fight infection.
Vitamin B (B-Complex Vitamins)
Children often have an overabundance of energy. It can drive parents wild. Energy is a necessity, though. It is required to play sports, to play with friends, even to go to school. All of these activities are possible because of B vitamins. The group of B vitamins include B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and biotin. They produce energy and release it when it’s required. They also help make red blood cells that carry oxygen. A supplement containing all 8 B vitamins is referred to as Vitamin B complex.
Kids love orange juice, and what better way is there for a child to get their daily vitamins boosted than through a sweet, tasty drink? It’s a good thing too, because Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for children that helps boost their immune systems to fight illness. It also helps to maintain healthy gums and blood vessels, which can minimize bruising that occur from bumps and falls.
Although Vitamin C plays an important role in staying healthy, especially during cold and flu season, it is not usually necessary to give a supplement. It’s super easy to get enough by eating a variety of colorful fruits and veggies, like papaya, kiwi, red peppers, broccoli, strawberries, and of course, the orange juice. If a supplement is needed, opt for a chewable. They are easier to take and taste good, too.
The biggest job Vitamin D has is that it is absolutely necessary for the absorption of calcium, which little bodies need for growing strong bones. It also plays a vital role in the prevention of heart disease and osteoporosis later in life.
The good news is, the body produces Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. It’s very easy for children to get their vitamins that way. For those living in climates where exposure to sun is limited, especially places with very long winters, Vitamin D has been shown to be a mood enhancer, providing relief from the winter blahs. So get children outside as often as possible. When that’s just not feasible, the nutrient can also be found in salmon and tuna, and in fortified foods like breakfast cereals, orange juice, and yogurt. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children take a Vitamin D supplement on a regular basis, however, because most do not get enough.
What kid doesn’t like milk or cheese? These delicious treats are loaded with calcium. Calcium is a necessary nutrient for building strong bones and healthy teeth. It’s extremely important to get enough calcium during early childhood and teenage years, because that’s when bones do most of their growing. It also helps to protect them later in life when bone loss occurs. Luckily, dairy products are full of calcium, as well as dark, leafy greens, salmon, and calcium fortified orange juice. Many children between the ages of 9 to 18 aren’t getting enough calcium. If this is the case, usually for children that don’t like or can’t eat dairy, a supplement should be considered.
Iron is a very important mineral responsible for making the hemoglobin in red blood cells that move oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. Without enough iron, organs won’t get the right amount of oxygen they need for proper function. Iron is also needed for proper growth and getting the recommended amount can even have a positive impact behavioral problems, such as those associated with ADHD. A lack of iron can lead to learning problems or iron deficiency anemia, which may cause fatigue, weakness, irritability, decreased appetite, as well as other symptoms.
Proteins and Amino Acids
Protein is essential for healthy muscle growth and development. It is made up of basic units called amino acids. Some of these amino acids are produced by the body, however there are nine of them are not, and they can only be obtained from food. They are easily found in soy products and also animal proteins, like milk, eggs, fish, poultry, and red meats.
Amino acids make up the proteins that are responsible for not only building healthy muscles and organs, like the heart, but also for making hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body for proper cell function.
Less Common Supplements
There are some additional supplements that may also be beneficial to children. They are generally not found in multivitamins, but have still been shown to have major health benefits.
Let’s have a look at these additional children’s supplements to see how they can help the little ones in your life.
Cod Liver Oil
Grandparents are famous for giving out doses of cod liver oil to their children and grandchildren to fix various ailments. While it doesn’t cure everything like grandma may think, it certainly has loads of healthy benefits for kids.
Cod liver oil is a nutritional supplement that is found in the cod fish liver. It contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and EPA, Vitamin A and Vitamin D – all of which are essential for a healthy growing body.
How Can Cod Liver Oil Help Your Child?
A better question would be how can it not? Cod liver oil is full of good fats, like omega-3’s, which are good for the heart. DHA essential from brain and eye development and function. Cod liver oil gives immunity a boost because of the vitamin A that’s in it. It has been noted that it might cut the risk of respiratory illnesses during the winter months, and that it may even play a part in the prevention of middle ear infections. Taking cod liver oil may also reduce the need for antibiotics.
Word to the wise, though. Give it in capsule form, not liquid. Liquid cod liver oil taste like, well, fish liver. Yuck.
Most people have heard of probiotics today, but are they really beneficial?
The simple answer is a definitive, “Yes”.
Probiotics are live, active microorganisms that naturally occur in the body. They have been around for a very long time, present in cultured milk products and fermented foods. Probiotics are the good bacteria that keep the harmful bacteria in the body from getting out of hand. They stimulate the immune system, and are very important for proper digestion.
The use of antibiotics destroys good bacteria in the gut, along with the bad kind that caused the infection. Therefor, it’s a good idea to use probiotic supplements whenever antibiotics are taken.
How Can Probiotics Help Your Child?
Probiotics play a key role in digestive health. They are helpful because they destroy the harmful bacteria and reduce the chance of infection. They have been shown to aid in treatment of viral diarrhea and antibiotic related diarrhea. Many doctors will tell parents to try these when a gastrointestinal problem is present.
There is also research being done showing the potential for probiotics in treating eczema, ear infections, lactose intolerance, urinary tract infections, asthma, as well as many other ailments.
Sometimes a little is better than a lot. Maybe that’s not the case for chocolate, but it does hold true for trace minerals. Trace minerals are minerals that the body only needs a tiny bit of for maintaining good health. Copper, manganese, zinc, iron, iodine, fluoride, selenium, and cobalt are all trace minerals.
How Can Trace Minerals Help Your Child?
Although only a little is needed, trace minerals are crucial for many body functions, like transporting oxygen, keeping the nervous system in balance, and of course, maintaining tissue and bone health.
Vitamin K2 may not be as well known as other vitamins, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t just as special. It is a unique, yet vitally important nutrient for children. It is responsible for binding calcium to healthy bone matrix. It also prohibits calcium from sticking to arterial walls. Vitamin K2 is the long distance runner on the track field. It takes promotes a healthy future.
How Can Vitamin K2 Help Your Child?
Since it binds calcium to bones, Vitamin K2 ensures that the body is able to grow strong, healthy bones. A study published in 2008 showed that increasing Vitamin K2 for two years resulted in stronger, denser bones than those without.
By helping it adhere to bones, this nutrient also keeps calcium from sticking to arterial walls, which would turn to plaque over time. This promotes long term heart health. So while there may not be an immediate and visible result from supplementing Vitamin K2, there are benefits that provide a healthy future for children.
Your Child’s Nutrition
Parents should want to provide the healthiest start in life for their children. While it’s not always possible to give children all the nutrients they need from food on any given day, it is possible to give them the next best thing through the use of supplements.
Giving children nutritional supplements ensures that they still get the vitamins and minerals they need for strong, healthy growth. And since they are available in a wide variety of flavors, there will be something for even the pickiest palate. By providing healthy supplements, parents can feel confident that their children are getting what they need to grow and be at their best.