Nutrition supplements for kids: Are they necessary?

As a parent, you do everything you can to model good eating habits. You really are trying to toss a broccoli in the midst of some fries to make sure your kid is getting enough nutrients. While you do try to incorporate most of these healthy habits in your child’s diet, the reality is that broccoli would end up on the floor rather than your stomach. While the adequate intake of vitamins and minerals is crucial for promoting healthy growth and development in children, it doesn’t necessarily pan out that way. When a child eats a healthy and balanced diet, they don’t require additional nutritional supplements. Nevertheless, there are certain children who are more susceptible to deficiencies and might benefit from taking a supplement.

Why do kids need nutritional supplements?

Kids would need nutritional supplements in case of deficiencies or certain diseases:

1. Vitamin B12 deficiency

Children who adhere to vegetarian or vegan diets may require vitamin B12 supplementation as it is exclusively present in animal-based foods.

Also Read: Vitamin B12 deficiency: Here are the foods you should eat and avoid

2. Those with celiac disease

Similarly, children diagnosed with celiac disease face a higher risk of nutritional deficiencies and may benefit from supplements.

celiac disease
Some children with celiac disease may need nutritional supplements. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Children who eat sugary foods or with poor appetite

Furthermore, children with a poor appetite, or who consume too much of sugar-sweetened beverages, have high intake of specific medications, or chronic medical conditions that hinder nutrient absorption may also necessitate supplementation.

4. Iron deficiency

Many children do not receive sufficient amounts of iron and calcium from their diets. Iron can be found in foods such as beans, and spinach. It plays a crucial role in muscle development and the production of red blood cells. Symptoms of low iron levels include fatigue, anxiety, and an increased susceptibility to infections.

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5. Calcium deficiency

Calcium is essential for the growth of strong bones. It can be obtained from sources like milk, sardines, broccoli, and spinach. Insufficient calcium intake can result in stunted growth and the development of osteoporosis later in life.

Also Read: 6 warning signs of calcium deficiency that you need to look out for

6. Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium while also contributing to bone and teeth development. It is produced by our bodies when exposed to sunlight and can be found in certain foods like fortified dairy products or alternatives, egg yolks, and fish oils. Children who consume less than 32 ounces of vitamin D-fortified milk or dairy alternatives daily may need a supplement to meet the recommended intake levels. However, excessive consumption is not beneficial as it can lead to low iron levels in the body.

7. Low levels of B vitamins

Children with low levels of B vitamins may also require supplements. B vitamins are important for metabolism and energy production and they are present in eggs, nuts, beans, and soybeans.

8. Vitamin A deficiency

Vitamin A supports normal growth while promoting healthy skin and eyesight along with boosting immunity and it also aids tissue repair including bones. Excellent sources include yellow/orange vegetables along with milk, cheese, and eggs.

Kids with vitamin A deficiency may also need supplements. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

A healthy diet helps meet nutritional needs of kids

Parents should aim for a diverse diet to ensure their child fulfils the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals. A well-balanced diet incorporates dairy products or alternatives, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, as well as protein-rich foods like fish, eggs, nuts, beans, and lentils. Although all vitamins and minerals contribute to growth and development, certain ones hold particular significance for children’s health.

Things parents need to keep in mind!

Before giving your child any supplements, make sure to have a discussion with the doctor. While there may be certain situations where supplements are necessary, it is ideal for growing children to obtain essential vitamins and minerals from food and beverages. If you believe your child might require a supplement, seek advice from their health care provider.