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Everything Parents Need To Know About Zinc for Kids [in 2022]
  /   Dr. John Snow

Everything Parents Need To Know About Zinc for Kids [in 2022]

You’re making sure your children are getting all their vitamins, but what about their minerals? Minerals are just as important to the health of your child, but the importance of many minerals isn’t emphasized enough.

Your child needs zinc just as much as calcium and vitamin D. But do you know the recommended daily amount of zinc for kids? Here’s everything parents need to know about zinc for kids.

What Is Zinc?

Our bodies, animals, plants, and the earth itself are all made of the same stuff. They’re just arranged a little differently. Many minerals necessary for our health are also significant constituents of the ground we walk on.

Zinc is a trace mineral and a naturally occurring element on the periodic table. Zinc is the 24th most abundant element in the earth’s crust and one of the most essential minerals that exist throughout the human body.

ZInc is technically a metal, but not all metals are bad for you. The human body requires microscopic amounts of many heavy metals in the form of trace minerals, including iron, copper, and magnesium.

What Does Zinc Do for the Body?

Zinc is necessary for most important functions of the body. The body needs zinc to manufacture the genetic material within your cells, including DNA itself. Zinc is essential for pregnant people, developing infants, and growing children. Without zinc, the body would face significant obstacles to proper growth and development, creating irreversible consequences.

Zinc also helps power the immune system in its fight to destroy viruses and harmful bacteria throughout the body. A strong immune system is better prepared to battle any virus, and children are constantly exposed to germs. Schools and playgrounds are the ideal environments for the spread of germs, and zinc helps to make these environments a little safer for your child’s body to handle.

Speaking of playgrounds, kids often come home from playgrounds with mild scrapes and bruises. You probably give your child a little first aid and take them out for ice cream. Zinc helps the body heal wounds, and it also helps the body’s ability to taste and smell. Not to mention, zinc plays a vital role in playground visits and ice cream trips.

What Are the Symptoms of a Zinc Deficiency?

Zinc deficiency is relatively rare, but its consequences in developing children can be significant. Children who don’t get enough zinc in their diets may grow slower than other children. They may experience functional issues with their immune systems and delayed puberty.

Children can experience hypogonadism, a condition by which ovaries or testes fail to produce an adequate amount of necessary hormones for puberty. Children with hypogonadism may experience fertility issues later in life.

Since zinc plays an important role in wound healing, children deficient in zinc may experience lesions on their eyes and face and heal very slowly from cuts or scrapes. Zinc deficiency can also cause premature hair loss, changes in weight or appetite, diarrhea, and difficulty concentrating.

What Is the Recommended Daily Amount of Zinc for Kids?

Daily requirements for zinc intake will change throughout a child’s life. It’s vital to meet the target amount of zinc for kids, but exceeding it significantly isn’t a good idea.

  • 0 to 6 months -- 2 mg daily
  • 7 months to 3 years -- 3 mg daily
  • 4 years to 8 years -- 5 mg daily
  • 9 years to 13 years -- 8 mg daily
  • 14 years to 18 years (assigned male at birth) -- 11 mg daily
  • 14 years to 18 years (assigned female at birth) – 9 mg daily

These are general guidelines, but your child’s specific needs may be different. Children resolving a deficiency may require a special supplementation plant that involves using a specific amount of zinc for a predetermined amount of time. Children with absorption issues may need more vitamins or minerals to account for the loss.

Before providing your child with a zinc supplement, consult with a pediatrician regarding your child’s individualized needs. Without medical advice, it’s impossible to know if zinc supplementation is necessary or how much zinc your child will actually need.

What Foods Are High in Zinc?

Oysters, shrimp, mussels, and crab are excellent sources of zinc. These foods may not be suitable for everyone. Pregnant people should exercise extreme caution when consuming seafood, mainly if the seafood is undercooked or raw. Children over one year old can consume fully cooked seafood if they don’t have a seafood allergy.

Chickpeas, lentils, beans, tree nuts, and peanuts contain zinc. Peanuts and tree nuts aren’t suitable for all children, but lentils, beans, and chickpeas are generally well tolerated.

While legumes and nuts contain a substantial amount of zinc, they also contain an enzyme that may naturally inhibit zinc’s absorption. It’s best to take their nutrition facts with a grain of salt, as it’s unlikely that a serving will provide the body with as much zinc as suggested.

Eggs, dairy, meat, and poultry are common sources of zinc. If your child eats a balanced diet without restrictions, your child will likely consume enough zinc at mealtimes to ward off deficiencies.

What if My Child Won’t Eat These Foods?

Children who live in plant-based households cannot eat most foods that provide a sufficient amount of zinc. Peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, egg, and shellfish, are common food allergies. Children with allergies will also have difficulty meeting their requirements through chickpeas, beans, and lentils.

Picky eaters may be able to consume many foods containing zinc but choose not to safely.

Many people avoid foods they don’t particularly enjoy, and children are even more restrictive. Adults know they have to eat their vegetables for their health, even if they aren’t particularly fond of carrots. Children don’t have a fundamental understanding of the importance of nutrition, making them more difficult to reason with.

New foods should slowly be incorporated into a child’s diet, along with discussions about their importance. It’s a good idea to explain to children that they need the vitamins and minerals in these foods to prevent them from getting sick. Always use appropriate terms that children are likely to understand.

The friendly battle to overcome picky eating is likely to be slow, and you cannot allow your children to go without vitamins and minerals in the meantime. Suppose you feel as though you’re having trouble helping your children meet the recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals like zinc through their daily diet. In that case, it’s time for a conversation with your child’s pediatrician.

Should I Give My Child a Zinc Supplement?

The only way to know if your child would benefit from a supplement is to speak with your pediatrician. It’s sometimes difficult to tell how much of each trace mineral your child is actually interested in since many foods contain tiny amounts.

Over the course of a few days, your child may be ingesting as much zinc as they’re supposed to. Fortified food products, like bread, granola, and cereal, often contain zinc that parents forget to factor in due to their unexpected sources.

Speak with your pediatrician about the vitamins and minerals your child may need in larger quantities. Ask your pediatrician about vitamin supplementation. If the pediatrician agrees that supplements are a wise choice, choose a multivitamin designed to address all of your child’s needs.

Hiya Was Made for Your Child

Hiya’s multivitamin was formulated under the guidance of pediatricians that noticed common threads in the diets of American children. Most children don’t sufficiently obtain a handful of vitamins and minerals from their regular diets, and we created Hiya to fill those gaps.

Hiya contains 100% of the daily recommended amount of zinc for children under the age of four, as well as 14 other vitamins and minerals your child needs to grow and thrive. Our chewable multivitamins are naturally flavored and sweetened with monk fruit rather than sugar. They don’t contain any gummy junk or artificial colors.

Hiya doesn’t look like gummy candy because vitamins aren’t candy. Hiya is designed to prevent associations between candy and health, which will help parents establish a foundation for their child’s healthy future.

Best of all, Hiya is suitable for most children. Our multivitamin is dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, eco-friendly, and made in the United States. Children with allergies to fish, shellfish, egg, and dairy can safely use Hiya to replace the vitamins and minerals they can’t safely obtain through certain foods. We’ve done our best to create a multivitamin to support the needs of every growing youngster.

Sources:

Zinc - Consumer | National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements

Zinc - Health Professional Fact Sheet | National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements

Common Allergens - Peanut, Egg, and Sesame Allergies | FARE

Malabsorption - HealthyChildren | American Academy of Pediatrics

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