Should I Give My Child a Children’s Vitamin Supplement?
This is a question that many parents will ask themselves at some point.
So, what are the reasons for considering giving a child a daily multivitamin?
Firstly, it must be stressed that a multivitamin supplement, whether for a child or an adult, is no substitute for a healthy diet. Whether the diet is an omnivorous one, or one that fits in with a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, it should be as varied as possible and thereby be as rich as possible in the majority of essential vitamins and minerals. However, in today’s world, where many of us live quite hectic lives, we have to be realistic and honest enough to acknowledge that our diets, and those of our children, can sometimes fall short of an ideal balance.
Does it actually matter if our little ones miss out on their full quota of vitamins and minerals every day? Will it really make any difference to their long-term health and well-being… and is a children’s vitamin supplement the answer?
Well clearly, a severe and prolonged deficiency of any of the essential vitamins will be detrimental to the health of any child. Some of the major conditions and extreme symptoms that can be caused in children by vitamin deficiencies are:
- Vitamin A – Night Blindness, Eye Inflammation, Retarded Growth
- Vitamin B – Numerous, including: Fatigue, Headaches, Dermatitis, Vomiting, Seizures, Disturbance to the Central Nervous System
- Vitamin B12 – Pernicious Anemia
- Vitamin C – Scurvy, Joint Pain, Bleeding Gums, Poor Wound Healing
- Vitamin D – Rickets
- Vitamin E – Edema, Skin Lesions
Fortunately, most of these conditions are now quite rare in the Western world. Therefore, it is perhaps more appropriate to consider the less acute effects of long-term deficiencies. However, some of the minor symptoms of a vitamin deficiency that children may exhibit are unfortunately quite hard to distinguish from behaviour that can be caused by any number of other triggers. For example, is the child irritable and restless because they haven’t been sleeping particularly well or is it an early sign that their diet is lacking in Vitamin D?
As a parent it can be difficult to know for sure whether our children are getting all of the vitamins and minerals they require and it can be even harder to spot the early signs that they might not be. Therefore, for most parents, a safety first approach is what would seem to make most sense. If a quality children’s multivitamin that is especially formulated to provide the correct proportions of nutrients for children’s needs is chosen, and this is taken in accordance with the recommendations, you can be assured that you are filling in any gaps that there might be in your child’s diet.
As Debby Demory-Luce, a registered dietician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, says, giving your child a multivitamin “provides a little extra insurance that he’s getting what he needs”.