Best Kids Multivitamins – what kids need and what they don’t
It was incredibly difficult to initially figure out which multivitamin to give to my children. I started my journey to find an answer in 2005 when my firstborn was on the way.
There were so many on the market and without a background in medicine it is more difficult than ever for most people, even with professional guidance.
My journey to a decision took about 9-12 months and when my first was born, I thought I had it figured out. Nope- not quite – I kept learning more while he was exclusively breastfed and narrowing down my choices until my son was old enough to take an oral chewable vitamin. I was confident I had chosen one that would serve him well and any other children that blessed my life in the future. He started on them at about age 12 months. I also knew that intermittent continued research was going to be necessary to make sure something better wasn’t out there. You know how fast things change and improve a lot of the time. So I chose the best kids multivitamins I could find.
Basics of Why Children’s Multivitamins Might be needed in addition to food-
According to Archives of Disease in the Childhood British Medical Journal (changes come out periodically), there is no way to know exactly how much of a particular vitamin a child needs at different ages, as there is a lot of variation in what that may be. Many factors can potentially change what one child needs at a certain age such as :
DIET- for an infant, there are differences in their baseline level of health if they are breastfed vs formula fed – organic and regular formula off the shelf.
Exclusively breastfed infants have significantly lower rates of ear infections, constipation, spitting up (as they are eating just what they need at any given feeding and stop on there own ), oral yeast infections ( as formula has high concentrations of high fructose corn syrup in them which sets them up for yeast infections ), and overall illness from many other causes. Breast milk is after all the perfect food. The only vitamin that may need supplementing is vitamin D in breast fed infants, and some argue that isn’t really necessary. It’s a personal choice at the end of the day.
It has to be mentioned that whatever the mother is eating is also going into the milk to some degree, so healthy dietary choices for mom means higher concentrations of healthy micro nutrients/ vitamins/minerals for baby.
For a child over the age of 1, table food begins to play a role in their overall health and vitamin supplementation needs.
Many children of breast feeding parents are still getting partially breast fed at this age If not longer- at least for comfort or when they are ill. If they eat a diet high in processed food, bites of fast food mashed up, high sugar snacks like dry cereal, fruit juices and excessive cows milk instead of home made food with ingredients that are known, whole fruits and cooked vegetables, they will be sick more often. This type of diet is low in the necessary vitamins and minerals needed for a growing brain and body. Something I have done is given my children the water that the vegetables are cooked in as it’s rich in vitamins and minerals. They usually like what they get used to and that means you put it in front of them early and keep doing it as a matter of routine.
If you have to choose formula for your baby try to look into organic formula which has regular sugar in it instead of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). It also has different preservatives and fillers that are less toxic. Despite the advertisements, there is an important difference in how the body, specifically the liver, handles the two very different substances. Use of HFCS in foods makes children and adults overfed and undernourished-making there bodies and brains crave the micro nutrients that are missing from overly processed food and high sugar diets. This often leads to many chronic diseases later in life. We need to grab this opportunity to make a huge step in the right direction with what we put in there mouths and little hands to eat and drink.
CONGENITAL DISORDERS and malformations may present challenges with getting enough nutrition for proper weight gain in the early months of life. Malabsorption in the intestines may play a role as well as gluten intolerance or lactose intolerance as far as where there calcium source comes from and having to avoid certain foods or take higher doses of certain vitamins and minerals.
ALLERGIES become a challenge to work around to get the proper nutrients in there diets without the worry of reactions as well as cause stress for all parents.
Did I say the word STRESS? Yes stress is also a factor in keeping our little and slightly older munchkins healthy. B vitamins are used up more quickly in the body under excessive stress whether that’s emotional, mental or physical stress. Kids need a lot of love and attention and that nurturing often means spending less time on other things and even people at times in order to give it to them. This actually might mean parents likely benefit from a multivitamin every day as well. So please choose the best kids multivitamins you can find.
Benefits of a Multivitamin-
The number one benefit of a multivitamin is a stronger immune system, making up for what might be missing from our diets, our food. By the time many foods get in the grocery stores, some or much of the nutrition has been lost to time as soon as they are harvested and shipped or picked to soon in order to get them to the store before spoiling.
Peace of mind for parents trying to add something of benefit that makes sense is a major benefit.
Taking the best kids multivitamins may also help combat some environmental damage to our bodies from nutrient poor food and public drinking water. I recommend distilled water for mixing if organic formula is your choice for infant feeding or with regular formula if organic formula is too expensive or not covered under government programs. This keeps a lot of toxins out of the formula when your babies nervous and immune systems are fragile. If mom is breastfeeding she should drink distilled water as well to help reduce toxins that get into her breast milk. We are most interested in cumulative effects over time.
There are many toxic substances in our environment today such as-
- industrial by products/waste
- pesticides in the soil
- herbicides in the soil
- antibiotic and other pharmaceutical residues in the public water supply
- chlorine and fluoride in the public water supply as well as bacteria and viruses. Chlorine has to be added to the public water or many of us would be sick. The fluoride issue is a topic deserving a discussion all by itself. Let’s just say it’s not the same fluoride that’s in your toothpaste but it’s still very toxic over time. Topical fluoride may make some sense but drinking it multiple times a day, I don’t think so. Remember anything toxic is even more toxic to children as they are smaller and so are all of there organs being assaulted with things they need to get rid of somehow.
- Soil devoid or low in micro nutrients that our body and brain need to help repair our cells, delay premature aging and help us keep a strong immune system.
- cadmium ( which lines the cans food is stored in )
- bpa and many others
Even if you feed your children organic food most of the time, it is beneficial to add the best kids multivitamins available to there daily routine and start training them early to take one. They will one day ask you ” did you give me my vitamins mom?” I had most of my children trained to swallow a capsule by age 3 and if they couldn’t do it – I just opened the capsule and put it on a few bites of food or transition to a chewable, or liquid if necessary. The liquid vitamin products usually don’t pass the kid taster test – at least not without a sour look and rolling eyeballs.
What Shouldn’t be in Children’s Multivitamins and Why-
Most multivitamins on the market are generally OK as far as what is in them if you want to settle for the basics, the cheapest and not worry about the sugar content or your are OK with artificial sweeteners etc- some inferior products I’ve seen are not exactly cheap. It’s what else is in them that matters and what isn’t. Again the best kids multivitamin is the goal.
Ask yourself an important question-what do I want in my kid’s vitamins and what do I want to make sure isn’t is them just in case they manage to get up into the cabinet or break through a child proof lock and eat the entire bottle?
Will they survive being poisoned with iron or vitamin A or some other preservative or filler that you didn’t know they were allergic to in those vitamins?
Iron poisoning is a common reason for Emergency room visits every year. Gone are the days of giving your kids over the counter Ipecac. This is actually not recommended in iron poisoning and soon Ipecac will not even be available anymore, as giving it to make your child vomit may make it harder to figure out what is going on if the ingestion wasn’t witnessed.
So firstly I would say picking a multivitamin without iron is number 1 on my list. If your child is iron deficient, then visit your doctor to find out why, rule out disease that may make them anemic ( hemoglobin low), change or optimize there diet to make sure they have a balanced diet to support them and prevent anemia so they don’t need an iron supplement. Don’t given cows milk before age 12 months as this can cause anemia. Iron is a free radical producer, that means that it does damage to cells when taken in larger doses in the diet than needed by the body.
Iron toxicity can be so life threatening, I would say having a childrens multivitamin in your home with iron in it should be disposed of. If an adult vitamin in your home has iron in it, which most of them do, please keep it in the safest possible place away from curious fingers.
Sometimes a surgeon has to get involved in a childs care with iron poisoning in order to remove any retained iron tablets in the stomach to prevent further absorption or to prevent an ulcer in the stomach lining and serious bleeding.
Vitamin A toxicity in the short term can cause nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, dizziness, dry skin, loss of skin or peeling or skin, swelling of the brain and headaches. This is in most if not all children’s vitamins, not as toxic as IRON.
Vitamin K comes in two forms, K1 and K2, K1 is found in green leafy vegetables and K2 is produced by bacteria in intestine, found in animal foods like free-range organic eggs and chicken, butter and fermented foods like sour kraut or fermented soybeans. Vitamin K in both forms is important not only for blood clotting but also for heart health, bone healing/health, preventing osteoporosis and plaque from building up in your arteries. The last two things are more important for later in life.
SOURCES OF VITAMIN K1 INCLUDE –KALE, SPINACH, COLLARD GREENS, BEET GREENS, MUSTARD GREENS AND TURNIP GREENS. BOY THOSE FOLKS IN THE SOUTH ARE AHEAD OF THE GAME. ( I WAS BORN IN THAT AREA AND THEY ARE DELICIOUS!)
Start your kids on these vegetables steamed with a little salt or organic soy sauce and watch out- they will be hooked for life!
What else IS needed in a multivitamin? Adequate amounts of water-soluble vitamins minerals and safe doses of fat soluble vitamins such and Vitamin A, D, E and K. Usually there is a minimum amount of vitamin D so extra vitamin D can safely be given as an additional supplement if needed. If this is the case, blood tests are available to monitor levels to ensure safe doses are being given. Vitamin D levels naturally fall in the winter months and rise in the summer with more sun exposure.
Please see below RDA’s (recommended daily allowances) of vitamins/minerals in an above average children’s vitamin. This is a good example of a great kids multivitamin. There are others as well.
USUALLY 2 Chewables are taken daily of most children’s vitamins-
Vitamin A 2000 IU ( international units) 40% of RDA
Vitamin C 80mg 130% of RDA ( water-soluble vitamin so extra doesn’t hurt you as it is washed out through kidney)
Vitamin D3 ( the only form of vitamin D to look for) 600 IU (minimum) I give my kids after age 24 months an extra 2000 IU each per day. As stated above, levels naturally fall during the winter months then you can back off on the extra during the summer months when they are out in the sun more making it naturally.
20 IU 70% RDA
Thiamine 1.5 mg 100% RDA ( food is fortified with this one a lot )
Riboflavin 1 mg 60% RDA ( food is fortified )
Niacin 12 mg 60% ( some food is fortified with this one also )
Vitamin B6 1.6 mg 80% RDA
Folate 300 mcg ( micrograms) 80% RDA
Vitamin B12 3 mcg 50% RDA
Biotin 80 mcg 25% RDA
Pantothenic Acid 6 mg 60% RDA
Calcium125 mg 15% ( remember milk is not the best source of calcium due to pasteurization killing much of what is necessary in the milk to help your body absorb and use the calcium that is there ) FRUSTRATING isn’t it? A great source of calcium is getting in the habit of juicing apples and carrots together daily 6-8 oz. The acid in the apples pulls the calcium out of the carrots and Shazam you have an excellent calcium drink for those little and bigger munchkins.
Phosphorus 30 mg 4% RDA
Iodine 50 mcg 35%
Magnesium 125 mg 30%
Zinc 2.2 mg 15%
Selenium 20 mcg 30%
Copper 0.2 mg 10%
Manganese 0.9 mg 45 %
Chromium 25 mcg 20%
Molybdenum 12 mcg 15%
Potassium 7 mg less then 1 % RDA
Many multivitamins, the good ones, also have organic fruit and vegetable blends in them including choline ( 30 mg ) and Boron 20 mcg.
The above is an example of a product that I would consider on the list of possibilities and there are other good ones on the market. The ones I have given to my kids have been the ones I’ve researched and have information on the sources of there ingredients. This takes time but I am glad to pass it on to others.
NOTE—Sugar content-as low as possible or one with Stevia in it (the only safe sugar substitute in my opinion made from a plant- yes, it’s somewhat processed, but not a chemical soup like the pink, blue and yellow packets in the store)
How to choose a quality children’s Multivitamin + My Personal Favorites-
Well I’ve done a lot of the research and there are many on the market that are good and a few that are excellent. As more people learn about how important supplementing your family with the best kids multivitamins, these brands will sell more often and prices will drop a little more.
My favorites are the ones my kids like and the ones that bring good health. The ones that are affordable enough to give to 5 of them every day of every month is a consideration and the ones that don’t contribute to tooth decay. Dental records can vouch for that one too. My kids have rarely had a cavity and they are 4-12 yrs old now. They also have rarely been ill except for a cold or vomiting type illness for 1-2 days. No ear infections. One of my kids had a fever related seizure at age 1 month old and one of them had a week with terrible wheezing with a cold at age 1 month. Otherwise, we have been very blessed with good health and lots of fun. Their diets are 90% organic or higher and they are all very active in skateboarding, swimming, playing, bicycling and educated on appreciating good nutritious food without all the extra sugar and salt.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF MINE INCLUDE—
-Mercola Kids Multivitamin will set you back about $12 a bottle 60 chewables. Each kiddo takes 2 a day in morning. NON GMO GO TO – http://amzn.to/2ydNdzZ
-Naturelo $ 26-30 a bottle #60 chewables GO TO – http://amzn.to/2hhWML0
-Nordic berries $35 4 berries per day each child # 120 per jar/ ages 2 and over. NON GMO ( genetic modified organism) very important this is verified on the label. 6 grams of sugar per dose of 4 berries 35 calories GO TO – http://amzn.to/2ybZyVb
-Total balance xtend-life children’s vitamin $30 a bottle 3 tablets a day #90 enteric coated for older children and teenagers that will swallow it . GO TO – http://amzn.to/2ygKohp Easier for kids over the age of 6 or 7 unless you have a child that swallows pills easily.
In summary – all the above gives you 1 month’s worth of vitamins. Check them all out and make your decision. This is a good place to start instead of the grocery store. Shopping online or in a health food store or a grocery store that carries other brands is great as well after some research so you know what you are looking for.
The Take Home Message-
A healthy organic diet with plenty of daily activity, adequate filtered water mixed with a well sourced multivitamin/mineral supplement every day keeps the doctor away most of the time. Pick the best kids multivitamins your money can buy.
Thank you very much for visiting my site and I hope the information benefits your family as it has my own.
Dr. Leigh Gilburn
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