Are Daily Multivitamins Good & Should I Give Them to My Kid?
  /   Dr. John Snow

Are Daily Multivitamins Good & Should I Give Them to My Kid?

Daily multivitamins are a cornerstone of most wellness routines. People strategically select supplements aligned with their health goals, and multivitamins seem to be a nutritional catch-all that will fill the holes in any diet. Many older adults use daily multivitamins, and parents give them to their children. But should they?

Multivitamin use isn’t a perfect addition to every child’s wellness routine. Multivitamins contain a wide variety of essential nutrients like calcium, zinc, magnesium, fatty acids, and vitamin D3, but an excess of certain vitamins can build up in the body and cause adverse effects. 

Before you give your children daily multivitamins, it’s important to consider whether or not they actually need them. If not, you could be upsetting your child’s tummy and flushing money down the drain.

What Happens When You Have a Vitamin Deficiency?

Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can cause a whole host of negative consequences. Different deficiencies will manifest in different ways. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone pain or muscle weakness. Vitamin C deficiency can cause oral health problems and delay wound healing. 

In many cases, vitamin deficiency is difficult to spot. The only way to know for sure if symptoms are occurring as a result of a vitamin deficiency is to see a doctor.

Who Is at Risk for Vitamin Deficiencies?

Multivitamins are designed to provide children (or adults) with an adequate amount of the vitamins they need to promote their health and wellness. 

Severe vitamin deficiencies are very rare in developed countries where people have access to a wide array of foods and are able to eat three meals a day. It’s not unusual for people to fall a little short, and when it’s a child that isn’t meeting the requirements for what they need to grow and thrive, that’s a cause for concern.

Vitamin deficiencies can occur in people with diets that are limited or restricted. When certain food groups are off the table, they take their vitamins and nutrients with them. 

People with Limited Diets

Food allergies or intolerances, vegetarian diets, and vegan diets limit the amount of foods that someone can ingest. Dairy allergies or intolerances can be particularly detrimental to children, as vitamin and nutrient-rich staples like low-fat milk often play a crucial role in preparing balanced meals for children. 

Children who cannot ingest nutrients from dairy, meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs may require supplementation to their diet. A vitamin B12 deficiency commonly results from diets that restrict animal products, and omega-3s may also be necessary to supplement

Food Aversions

Children often outgrow picky eating behaviors that lead to poor diet, but they need to be healthy in the meantime. Many parents feel stressed over their child’s disregard for vegetables or other healthy foods. They want their child to grow and thrive, and the refusal to eat the very foods that facilitate that process can create a sense of urgency.

Slowly introducing new foods into your child’s diet in a positive and encouraging manner can help to expand a picky eater’s palate. In the meantime, daily multivitamins can help to fill some of the gaps in your child’s diet to keep their immune system strong.

People with Absorption Issues

Children who have issues with vitamin or mineral absorption may require additional supplementation to meet their daily requirements. Children with digestive issues or who have had gastrointestinal surgery may need to increase their vitamin intake in anticipation that the body won’t efficiently utilize all of the vitamins and minerals they receive through their diet. 

Get Vitamins From Meals, but Children Are Often Picky Eaters

Children should be consuming adequate portions of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats every day to maintain good health. If your child doesn’t like carrots, rich in vitamin A, see if your child will enjoy baked sweet potato wedges as an alternative. 

If feeding your child foods that aren’t covered in cheese or shaped like nuggets is a massive undertaking, it may be time to talk to your pediatrician about the next steps and solutions.

Discuss Multivitamins with Your Child’s Pediatrician

Don’t assume that your child’s picky eating behaviors or dietary restrictions have resulted in a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Instead, raise the question with your child’s pediatrician. Vitamins are often lurking in expected places, like fortified cereals and other enriched snacks that contain B vitamins like folate, biotin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6 or B3.

If a deficiency is discovered and it’s limited to one or two vitamins or minerals, your child’s pediatrician may recommend specific individual supplements rather than a multivitamin. It all depends on your child’s diet and individual needs. The best wellness approach is an approach tailored specifically to your child. 

If your child’s pediatrician recommends that supplementation will help fill the gaps in your child’s diet, make sure to provide them with high-quality vitamins.

What Are the Side Effects of Taking Multivitamins Daily?

If your child is taking multivitamins, there shouldn’t be any negative side effects. In fact, your child may have more stable energy levels and experience a greater level of alertness or awareness throughout the day due to adequate nourishment. 

In cases of excess water-soluble vitamins, the body is generally able to flush out the amount that is not needed, but it is always best to be cautious. This is why it is of the utmost importance to speak with your child’s pediatrician and seek guidance before providing your child with daily multivitamins.

These side effects are extremely rare when giving children multivitamins that are appropriately formulated. 

When To Take a Multivitamin

There are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, E, D, and K), and water-soluble vitamins (vitamin C and all B vitamins like thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin). 

When the body receives a surplus of fat-soluble vitamins, they’re stored in the body’s fat tissue for later use. If the body receives more water-soluble vitamins than it immediately needs, it will flush the surplus away. This means water-soluble vitamins need to be replenished every single day. 

The best way to assure the body receives adequate amounts of each vitamin when it needs those vitamins is to give your child a multivitamin at the same time every day. Giving your child a multivitamin after breakfast is the best way to assure that their body will adequately utilize their daily supply of water-soluble vitamins

Which Multivitamin Is Best for Daily Use?

After you’ve spoken to your child’s pediatrician about multivitamins, you’ll need to select a multivitamin that meets your child’s needs. Children and adults need all the same vitamins but in significantly different amounts. 

Make sure to always use a children’s multivitamin supplement, as an adult multivitamin supplement will likely contain more vitamins your child actually needs. 

When perusing children’s multivitamins, there are a few key things to keep in mind. 

An Expertly Formulated Multivitamin

Hiya worked with real pediatricians to learn what vitamins most American children don’t sufficiently receive through their diet. We created a multivitamin with ingredients designed to address a growing child’s overall health needs

Hiya is broadly beneficial for most children with dietary restrictions, food aversions, or picky habits. Our vitamin is sugar-free, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, eco-friendly, and made in the United States. It caters to children of all needs from all households. 

A Multivitamin Free From Junk

Many parents don’t realize that gummy vitamins are filled with sugar. While it’s often easy to get children to take gummy multivitamins, the result isn’t much different from giving your child gummy bears fortified with vitamins. They often contain loads of sugar, fillers, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and other junk. A serving size is often several pieces, much like the serving size of candy you’d provide to your child. 

Hiya was designed to change that

Our one-a-day children’s chewable multivitamins are naturally flavored and sweetened with monk fruit. They taste sweet and fruity enough that children won’t protest, but they aren’t designed to look or feel like candy. 

If your child’s pediatrician feels that they would benefit from a multivitamin, Hiya meets all the marks

Sources:

Micronutrient Inadequacies in the US Population: an Overview | Oregon State University

Vitamin C Deficiency - StatPearls | National Institutes of Health

Malnutrition and IBD | Crohns & Colitis Foundation

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