According to experts, healthy kids who eat a properly balanced diet do not need vitamin supplementation. However, infants and young children who are not able to reach the recommended daily intake are advised to get the necessary micronutrients through supplementation.
According to pediatricians, your kids need vitamin supplements if they:
- Are eating a lot of processed food, such as hotdogs, cured ham, or cured bacon.
- Are fond of eating a lot of fast food.
- Are vegan or vegetarian, and have a dairy-free diet.
- Are drinking a lot of carbonated drinks.
- Are taking other medications, it would be best to ask their pediatrician about it.
- Have chronic medical conditions, such as asthma.
- Do not eat properly and regularly, especially if they don’t want the food.
- Do not get a well-balanced meal made with whole foods, such as meats, fruits, and vegetables.
If you think your kids need additional vitamins, don’t buy anything you see on television or what’s popular. One of the best alternatives would be to visit your kids’ pediatrician as they’ll assess your kids based on their eating habits. They may also do a regular check-up to evaluate your child’s current health condition. Thus, they could have a basis on what vitamins to recommend and prescribe to your child.
Moreover, vitamins are divided into two categories which are fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. Here is a summary of their differences:
- Fat-Soluble: These are vitamin A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are dissolved using your fats. They are absorbed by fat globules that pass through the small intestines and are distributed throughout your body via the bloodstream.
- Water-Soluble: These are vitamins C and the large group of vitamin B. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, these vitamins are dissolved by water. Your tissues readily absorb them for your immediate use. Excess amounts will be drained with your urine and rarely cause toxicity in humans.
Like you, your children also need vitamins for their bodies to perform and function normally. Failure to receive them daily may result in micronutrient deficiencies. The deficiency may differ depending on what your kids need. For example, if your child doesn’t get enough vitamin C, this may result in a dietary condition called scurvy. Thankfully, there are tons of food ranging from meats to vegetables and fruits, easily preventing micronutrients deficiencies.
Thus, read below for a list of vitamins your child needs and how to obtain these vitamins.
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is also known as Ascorbic Acid. If you find supplements with the term ‘ascorbate,’ such as ‘sodium ascorbate,’ it means they have vitamin C in their formulation.
According to experts, vitamin C is a great way to boost your child’s immune system. Some studies found it to be good at battling your child’s coughs and colds. But still, you have to ask your kid’s doctor to determine the proper dosage for them.
Also, vitamin C could help your child’s body:
- To form collagen, blood vessels, cartilage, and muscle.
- To develop neurotransmitters, which are important for their nervous system.
- To build healthy bones and teeth, which is essential during your child’s formative years.
The best sources of vitamin C can be primarily found in fruits and vegetables, such as:
- Fruits: This includes kiwi, orange, grapefruit, guava, papaya, melon, strawberries, and lemon.
- Vegetables: This includes broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, capsicum like peppers
According to experts, a kiwi fruit mixed with a vegetable would suffice the daily vitamin C requirement. On the other hand, failure to reach the daily requirement may result in scurvy. You may also try to use liquid vitamins to ensure proper absorption.
2. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is essential to give your kids good eyesight. It’s also excellent for improving their night vision for them to enjoy Halloween night.
Moreover, vitamin A helps and promotes your child’s growth and development by aiding in the formation of tissues and bone, healthy skin, and immune responses.
Good sources of vitamin A (retinol) can be found in cheeses, eggs, oily fish, low-fat spreads, dairies such as milk and yogurt, liver and liver products. Yellow, red, and green vegetables and yellow fruit such as mango are food rich in beta-carotene, which will be converted into retinol. Also, beta-carotene is in the form of a pigment which causes these foods to have a range of colors from yellow to red.
However, excess amounts of vitamin A may also hurt your child. This may cause weakness, dry skin, headaches, and other symptoms. So, it is crucial to ask your pediatrician before giving it to them.
3. Vitamin B
In general, vitamin B is essential for your child’s metabolism and nervous system. They are also involved in producing energy, making red blood cells, carrying oxygen throughout our body. Thus, vitamin B is extremely crucial to your child’s health.
Here are the essential functions of every vitamin B in your kid’s body:
- Thiamine (B1): This vitamin B helps your child’s body release energy from the foods your take and is essential for your nervous system.
- Riboflavin (B2): This promotes good eyesight. Also, this aids in the conversion of the amino acid tryptophan into B3.
- Niacin (B3): This helps your child’s body in maintaining good digestion, metabolic activity, and normal enzyme function
- Pantothenic acid (B5): This aids your child’s body during metabolism and the formation of different hormones
- Pyridoxine (B6): This helps your child’s body during protein metabolism and the production of red blood cells, hemoglobin, and insulin.
- Biotin (B7): This helps your child’s body release the energy from carbohydrates and the metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
- Folic acid (B9): Like B6, this also helps in protein metabolism and the formation of red blood cells. It also reduces the risk of having a defective neural tube for newborns.
- Cyanocobalamin (B12): This helps maintain the nervous system and helps regulate the average level of red blood cells in your child’s body.
The top vitamin B sources are found in seafood, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy product, and leafy green vegetables and legumes. You may also find vitamin B in fortified cereals and nutritional yeast. However, if you’re not giving them the right daily amount, this may result in vitamin B12 deficiency and could lead to megaloblastic anemia.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a micronutrient essential for your child’s bone growth. It helps our body to take in calcium. Vitamin D and calcium work together to make sure your child has strong bones and help them heal, especially after surgery.
Kids might need more vitamin D if they have specific medical conditions such as the following:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Celiac disease
- Bone pain
- After surgery conditions
- If they are taking medicines that are preventing your body to use vitamin D
Good sources of vitamin D could be found in fatty fish, red meats, liver, fortified food, and egg yolks. Also, don’t forget to give your child a glass of milk every night, which also has a good amount of vitamin D and calcium. If your child fails to meet the daily recommended amount, it may result in a deficiency called rickets.
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an important vitamin, which acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. According to experts, these free radicals may be linked to cancer formation, cardiovascular diseases, and cataracts.
However, too much vitamin E intake may be harmful. They may cause bleeding problems, so as much as possible, get vitamin E from good food sources and not on supplements. Only use supplemental vitamin E if they don’t eat food rich in this vitamin.
Children who need more vitamin E may have the following conditions:
- Premature babies.
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Crohn’s disease.
- Those with abetalipoproteinemia, which is a rare condition that affects the protein transfer necessary to maintain the average level of vitamin E in the blood.
Moreover, good sources of vitamin E can be found on food such as plant oils such as sunflower oil and rapeseed oil, nuts and seeds, as well as cereals and cereal products You may take supplements if you’re not fond of eating these foods, but make sure not to overuse them to prevent toxic and adverse effects. On the other hand, vitamin E deficiency has a rare condition called ataxia. This could cause nerve and muscle damage, leading to muscle weakness, loss of body control, and vision problems.
6. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is responsible for your body’s unique process called clotting. This stops the bleeding when your kid has a cut by acting like glue and sticking together at the wound’s surface. Vitamin K could also help make different proteins in your body that are essential for blood, kidney, and bone health.
Good sources of vitamin K include green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. They may also be found in cereal grains and vegetable oil
Regarding deficiency problems, vitamin K deficiency rarely occurs in kids. Those who suffer from this deficiency may have intestinal problems in which their medications block the absorption of vitamin K from the foods they eat.
The challenge that most parents experience is the need to feed their children food that will complete their daily macro and micronutrient needs. However, it isn’t easy to provide children with food that is not familiar to them. This situation will lead parents to use supplements.
But before you buy anything, make sure that you have gotten advice from your kid’s pediatrician to make sure your child is taking the right dosage.