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As a parent, you make it a point to feed your children foods rich in the vitamins they need to grow and thrive. You probably read all the information on the labels of the products you purchase and use in your home because you need to be sure that everything meets the quality and safety standards you’ve put in place for your family.
Vitamins are crucial to the health of all people.
While you can see the vitamin content and ingredients on the label, that’s only part of the story. How are vitamins made? Is there a difference in the quality of vitamins? Before you purchase a multivitamin supplement for your family, here’s what you need to know.
People cannot produce the majority of their own vitamins. Many plants produce vitamins as they grow. The majority of vitamins can be found in plants.
As the plant grows, it receives nutrients from the soil and receives energy from sunlight. It uses the energy to convert its nutrients, causing the plant to grow and produce more compounds, phytonutrients, and enzymes as it reaches maturity.
Vitamins naturally occur as a result of this process.
Some plants are poor sources of vitamins. They don’t have a particular need to create vitamins that don’t benefit them in their quest for reproduction. People ingest these vitamins from other sources.
Vitamins like vitamin B12 are most prevalent in animal-derived foods, created and stored in the bodies of the animals that later went on to produce beef, dairy, eggs, fish, or shellfish.
Animals don’t directly produce vitamin B12. Instead, the bacteria they regularly come into contact with will produce the B12 that ultimately winds up in animal food products. Vitamin D is uniquely made in nature.
The human body acts much like a plant, converting energy from the sun into vitamin D. It may not be wise to exclusively utilize the sun as a source of vitamin D, as UV rays can be extremely damaging to the skin.
Sunblock throttles the body’s ability to produce its own vitamin D, rendering the sun an ineffective or unsafe primary source of vitamin D.
The vitamins in your child’s multivitamin supplements can come from two sources. They’re either derived from foods naturally rich in those vitamins or synthetically synthesized in a medical laboratory.
Vitamins can be extracted from foods. For example, oranges are very high in vitamin C. Medical laboratories can extract vitamin C from oranges and produce a concentrate, blending it with other vitamins or binding ingredients to create an appropriate single-use dosage.
Vitamins are often extracted with a food-safe solvent. The solvent and other nutrients, sugars, and carbohydrates naturally found in the plant will be purified from the final extraction, leaving only the vitamin behind.
Raw vitamins may appear similar to crystals or rock salt before they’re granulated and blended into the final product.
Synthetically produced vitamins use inorganic materials to produce structurally identical vitamins. Compounds in these materials are scientifically rearranged to mimic and perfectly duplicate the structure of vitamins found in food.
When you ingest them, your body can use them nearly as well as naturally occurring vitamins.
Although synthetically produced vitamins may sound off-putting, they’re safe and sometimes necessary. Children with dietary restrictions or allergies may not have vitamins or minerals derived from animal products.
Synthetically produced vitamins allow children to receive adequate amounts of vitamins without compromising their health, safety, or lifestyles.
When you buy a bottle of multivitamins, it’s evident that there is no loose powder or liquid in the container. The vitamins have been pre-measured into appropriate doses and formed into a tablet, capsule, soft gel, or gummy.
Vitamins are granulated to make their particle sizes very small.
These particles are then combined and thoroughly mixed into a batch. The vitamins from the batch will either be placed into a capsule, pressed into a tablet, or cooked into a gummy.
Gummy vitamins undergo a lot of additional processing. Sometimes artificial in nature, colors and flavors are combined with the same ingredients used to make gummy candy, like sugar, pectin, and gelatin.
The combined vitamin powder is thrown into the mixture before it’s poured into molds and allowed to set.
The best way to provide vitamins and minerals to your children is through food. Meeting the recommended daily values of each vitamin (or at least coming very close) is possible with a well-balanced diet and a few small nutritional powerhouse snacks.
Unfortunately, this goal isn’t always possible to achieve.
Some children are great eaters. They don’t have any allergies or intolerances, and they’re willing to try a wide variety of foods. However, many children, particularly toddlers and very young children, quickly declare their preferences.
Anything they don’t love is deemed inedible and promptly pushed off the plate.
Children with food allergies or intolerances may not be able to have many of the foods that most parents rely on. Dairy foods, eggs, seafood, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, and red meat are valuable sources of many essential vitamins and minerals necessary for early childhood development. If these foods are off the table, they’re taking their nutritional value with them.
This can be a cause for concern for many parents. They want to see their children healthy and thriving, and obstacles are sometimes difficult to overcome.
Like those found at dollar stores, budget vitamins are often synthetic vitamins made with the lowest quality ingredients. While they may be better than foregoing vitamins entirely, it’s not reasonable to expect that the same level of quality and care went into producing budget vitamins that you would expect from a pricier vitamin. Consumers often get what they pay for.
Reading the ingredients list and expiration date will reveal the whole picture.
Vitamins may have aged and degraded in quality. They may be packed with cheap filler ingredients or artificial preservatives. They may have been manufactured with “bioengineered ingredients,” which is misleading to disclose that the products were created using GMO plants.
If the price point is suspiciously low and you can’t find any positive information about the brand, it’s best not to take the risk. It’s possible that these vitamins were manufactured overseas in a country where rules and regulations are much more lax than the standards of the United States.
Oftentimes, there’s no way to know if these vitamins are free from contaminants like solvents or heavy metals. The vitamin content listed on the bottle may not be accurate.
Many children don’t need multivitamin supplements. The elusive “great eaters” will usually do an excellent job of meeting their daily values. Children with special needs or concerns and children who haven’t mastered a wide variety of foods may need some extra help.
Before giving your child a multivitamin supplement, speak to your child’s pediatrician. The pediatrician will establish if the potential for deficiency exists and suggest possible remedies. That’s why a children’s multivitamin supplement is a common and affordable remedy to vitamin consumption concerns.
Hiya’s children's chewable multivitamin is different. You won’t find any typical preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, added sugar, or gummy junk in Hiya.
Hiya includes a blend of 12 fruits and vegetables and 15 vitamins and minerals into chewable tablets that are easy for children to take.
Hiya’s multivitamins don’t look like gummy candies because they aren’t gummy candies. The majority of children’s multivitamins are nutritionally similar to gummy bears, with a large boost in the vitamin department.
Giving your children something that looks and tastes like candy and telling them it’s good for their health will likely send the wrong message.
Hiya is naturally sweetened with monk fruit, a plant-based alternative to refined sugar, and mannitol, a natural sweetener as well. This makes Hiya’s chewable vitamins tasty enough for children to take without a fuss.
Hiya is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and non-GMO. We’re also committed to sustainability. Hiya is manufactured in the United States and sent in reusable bottles.
The Best Sources of Vitamin B12 | Cleveland Clinic
Vitamin B 12 sources and microbial interaction | PubMed
Supplements: Nutrition in a pill? | Mayo Clinic
Most Synthetic Vitamins Are Now Made in China | Organic Consumers Association