Raising a strong, bright, and healthy child starts with feeding them a nutritious diet full of healthy foods. In most cases, they can also benefit from the addition of a good kids’ multivitamin.
Whether you’re dealing with a picky eater or another issue that prevents your child from getting all the nutrients they need from food alone, a children’s multivitamin can help bridge the gap and ensure that they’re getting all of the nutrients that their growing bodies and minds need. But with all the kids’ vitamins out there, it can feel overwhelming to figure out what’s best for your child.
In this article, we’ll outline what to look for in your child’s multivitamin, including what should (and shouldn’t) be in them.
Why Your Child Might Need a Multivitamin
Childhood — especially early childhood — is an important period in your child’s life. It’s the time when they’re growing and developing at the fastest rate. As such, they need proper nutrition.
Vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients are necessary for the proper growth and development of your child, which is why it’s so important to get a head start and feed your child healthy and nutritious foods right away. Unfortunately, in some cases, food alone isn’t always enough to ensure that your kid is getting everything that they need.
Nutritional deficiencies in children are surprisingly common throughout the world, especially when it comes to specific vitamins like vitamins D and A. This can happen for a variety of reasons: your child might have dietary restrictions, refuse to eat certain foods, or you might even be dealing with a lack of healthy options in your area. In addition, some kids may have conditions or illnesses that prevent them from fully absorbing the nutrients from their foods alone.
This is where supplemental kids’ vitamins can really make a difference and bridge any nutritional gaps that may be present. These supplements, many of which contain multiple important nutrients, can help your child get all of the vitamins and minerals they need to be their healthiest, brightest selves.
The Best Vitamins for Kids
These are some of the essential nutrients that are especially important to look out for while shopping for a kids' multivitamin.
Vitamin A is an essential, fat-soluble vitamin that plays a variety of roles in the development of your child’s eyes and brain. It also is a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen your child’s immune system and provide support in the protection against various illnesses and diseases. Unfortunately, vitamin A deficiencies are among some of the most common nutritional gaps in children throughout the world.
Vitamin C for kids is another important, immune-boosting antioxidant that you’ll probably want to have present in your child’s multivitamin. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is probably best known for its ability to support the immune system. This is especially important in children since they tend to be exposed to contagious illnesses more frequently than adults.
Along with vitamin A, vitamin D is another common nutrient deficiency in kids, which is why you might consider using a supplement that includes vitamin D. This vitamin, which is also a hormone, is crucial for healthy bone development and muscle growth. In extreme cases, vitamin D deficiencies in children are sometimes linked to rickets, a condition in which your bones become soft and weak.
Your child can technically make their own store of vitamin D from adequate sunlight exposure, but not everyone has enough access to sunlight to make that happen. In addition, sunscreen and limited sun exposure for skin safety can also minimize their vitamin D production. Finally, vitamin D is not present naturally in very many foods, which means that many kids often need to supplement to reach their needs.
Finally, your child may also benefit from taking a magnesium for kids. Magnesium is a mineral that has a hand in over 300 different biochemical reactions in your body, making it a critical nutrient for a wide variety of cells. Magnesium is especially important for kids since it works in tandem with vitamin D to help build strong, healthy bones. It also plays a variety of roles in producing cellular energy and maintaining regular muscle and nerve activity. Finally, there is also some evidence that magnesium supplementation can help kids with hyperactivity and ADHD syndrome.
What Shouldn’t Be Included in a Kids’ Multivitamin
Even though multivitamins are usually taken to avoid nutrition insufficiency, it’s important to note that there is such a thing as too much when it comes to certain nutrients. For example, high levels of iron can be toxic for kids, as can high levels of vitamin A. So, if you’re choosing a multivitamin for your child, it’s important to consider what nutrients they are already getting enough of from their diet, and adjust accordingly.
You should also talk to your pediatrician prior to starting any multivitamin regimen to better understand your child’s unique needs, as well as which vitamins and minerals you should be focusing on. In some cases, your child may not need a complete multivitamin at all — instead, they may only need an additional one or two vitamins or minerals in order to have all of the nutritional “tools” necessary for their growth and development. In these cases, you can use singular nutrition supplements. For example, if your child seems to be getting an adequate amount of most nutrients but needs more magnesium, they might benefit from a singular magnesium supplement like Ionic-Fizz™ Magnesium Plus™ that better targets their needs versus a complete multi.
Finally, it’s also important to consider how those vitamins and minerals are delivered to your child. Ideally, your kids’ vitamins should be easy for them to take. Avoid large, hard-to-swallow pills and capsules. Rather, opt for powders, gummies, or liquid vitamins that have low or no added sugar and that are formulated for children.
The Bottom Line
A healthy diet is a top priority for parents around the world. But sometimes, your kid might need additional help from multivitamins and supplements that can ensure they’re getting everything they need to be their best. When shopping for multivitamins for children, keep in mind your own child’s unique needs, and speak with a pediatrician to determine the best supplements for them.