What Vitamins to Give Kids
Y'all we get this question all the time…“What supplements do you give your kids?” Literally all the time.
I am going to start by saying I am not a doctor, this article shouldn’t substitute your doctor’s advice. If you have a real concern about your child’s health please reach out to your doctor. Please.
I also want to say, this is highly general advice, for the purpose of this article. I don’t know your kid, their diet, or their health history. Please, please take it as such. If you have any questions please reach out or comment below.
Okay, now that all the “fun stuff” is out of the way, let’s dig in. I think most people generally, know or think they should be supplementing. I do agree with this. However, as a society I do believe we are over supplementing, supplementing with things that are not necessary, and missing some areas where we could be supplementing. So, read this carefully and really think about what your child’s needs. Supplements have changed my health, kept my children healthy through the long flu season, and I do believe helped with overall development.
Getting Nutrients From Food
Let’s just be honest, our kids have holes in their diet. Some of them won’t eat fish, or green vegetables, or even protein at all. I generally challenge parents to work on this, like really work on it. Make a concerted effort to put whatever it is they won’t touch in front of them.
Supplements can help with this but just know this won’t solve the problem. They need to learn to eat fish or green vegetables. The nutrients in these food are so good for them. You can get some of the similar nutrients from supplements, but nothing, nothing replaces whole foods.
Things to Watch Out For
Okay, you can give your kids supplements a few ways…. A gummy, a chewable, a powder or as a liquid. Everybody’s kid will do best with something different. That is why I have a hard time recommending one brand to everybody, because immediately they will say my kid has a texture thing and cannot do gummies (or something like that). That is why I want to teach you how to buy them.
My biggest concern when buying vitamins is additives. As you all know to get your kid to eat these things they have to add in sugar and flavors to make it taste good. So when buying a vitamin, just like food, you need to look at the ingredient list.
Watch out for sugar. High fructose corn syrup is a vitamin company’s favorite add. They will also use other processed sugar, that is anything on the label ending in -ose. If it has honey or cane sugar I would be okay with getting that one. You are going to really struggle to find anything completely sugar free, so natural sugars will work.
Look for dyes in the vitamins. That is what gives the liquid and gummies the pretty colors. It will be on the label as like “Red40”.
Look y’all, the ingredient list should be short, like really short. The vitamins are generally listed separately. So if the ingredient list is full of all kinds of things you don’t recognize I would pass on it. Brands that are generally good at this are Garden of Life and Zarbees.
Dosage does matter. I think where this deserves a mention the most is with gummies. Too much iron or vitamin C can affect your kid so do as they say. If you see a product for “toddlers” or “pre-teen” give it accordingly. They have paid close attention to dosage.
Okay, this is what I generally recommend all kids should be taking. Now mine aren’t taking all of these all the time, but have taken each one of these when necessary. Read below for more detail.
When buying fish oil the main thing you want is EPA and DHA. It shouldn’t just have one or the other. Another way it is termed is “Full spectrum fish oil.”
One product I love is Cod Liver Oil. This has less of the omega-3 (EPA and DHA) that standard fish oil has, but it also has Vitamin A and D. These vitamins are very hard to get in your diet.
One other thing to note, look on the label for wild caught, or ethical sourced. You want to be sure this is actually coming from wild fish.
Your child does not really need fish oil if they are eating wild caught fish a few times a week.
The main reason you would give a child a multivitamin is they have a limited diet, like really limited. If they aren’t getting a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and proteins then multivitamins might be something you want to look into.
The other reason to take a multivitamin is to boost your immune system. They can really carry your body through the cold and flu season. The vitamin C and Zinc is what will really help support this. Generally, I give my kids a multivitamin through cold and flu season and when we travel. Otherwise my kids don’t regularly take them.
I think by this time most people know what probiotics are and what they do for your body. At a very high level, it is the good bacteria that lives in your gut. This good bacteria helps you digest your food and fight off the bad bacteria. Bad bacteria can lead to sickness and poor digestive health.
Reason for Use
Here are some reasons why you might want to consider using probiotics. I do advise at least one round of probiotic every year, just to support your gut bugs.
You are concerned about protecting your child from sickness. Building up their good bacteria will help protect them against the bad bacteria that leads to sickness.
You may want your child probiotic if it is cold and flu season, they are starting a new school, or someone in your household is sick.
Your child seems uncomfortable due to digestive issues. There are many reasons this could be the case, but one of them could be that your child just needs to improve their digestive health through probiotics.
They have just been on a round of antibiotics. Antibiotics kills all bacteria (good and bad), so replenishing the good bacteria will help protect against further sickness.
Ages and Stages
There are a few different times in a child’s life when they need support in a special or unique way.
Young children - Fat
Fun, crazy fact for you - your baby’s brain is made up of 60% fat, more than half of their brain is fat in this critical developmental phase. I don’t know about you, but I want my kids to be as smart as possible. Another fun fact 80% of your child’s brain development happens in the first 5 years of life. If you are in this early phase of life and first foods check out my baby food e-book to learn more about to supplement for this.
Girls 10 -11 / Boys 12 - 13
Majority of bone density is built during these years, which is crazy. This is when your child may need/have more calcium requirements. There are few things that help support the uptake of calcium in the body… including magnesium and vitamin D. Check out vitamins made for this stage of a kids life.
Supplements I Recommend
These are the supplements that I sell on our site and also give my children.