Does your child take a multiple vitamin? Does your child need to take a multiple vitamin? I recently read a brief article in the Parenting magazine written by pediatrician, Dr. Lara Zibners. You can read the same article here. When asked the question, “Does my child need vitamins if she eats a balanced diet?”, this pediatrician’s opening answer was, “The short answer is no.”
The article goes on to say that even “picky-eaters” probably get all the vitamins and minerals they need. Excuse me? Maybe I am missing something here, but I am not sure a truly balanced diet alone exists…and if it does most kids aren’t eating it. When chocolate covered cereals are being advertised as a healthy breakfast, pizza fits the bill as a vegetable for government school lunches, and most suppers consist of drive-thru fries and ketchup, I think the concept of balanced is…well…unbalanced. Today’s children are being injected with known neurotoxins with vaccines, are being poisoned with refined sugars, living each day glued to the television, and are having their digestive tracts destroyed with antibiotics every few months. This places them in real need of additional support.
It’s the picky eaters I am worried about. It’s the little 5-year-old who refuses to eat vegetables and lives on corn dogs and mac-n-cheese. It’s the 6-year-old little girl eating fries more than once a week and increasing her risk of breast cancer that I am concerned about. We hear about all of these behavioral, social and learning problems in school-aged children. Yet very few seem to ask the right question of what are we putting into their bodies?! We can’t jack a kids blood sugars up on coco krispies in the morning, have them crash mid-morning and wonder why they can’t learn!
So, as a certified clinical nutritionist, with extensive training in the field of nutrition, I have to voice my opinion and answer this question as, “In short, yes they do need a multivitamin and they need all the foundational five as well!”
What Should Your Child Be Taking As Part of the Foundational Five?
(1) Multiple Vitamin / Mineral
This will cover the bases and prevent any micronutrient deficiencies that can lead to learning problems, behavior problems, or frequent illness. If your child is old enough to swallow a tablet I would use the PhytoMulti at one tablet daily. For most kids, what I have used successfully in my practice for years, is the medical food called UltraCare for Kids. This is an approved medical food that is made with rice protein and is hypo-allergenic. I have used it with many of my patients, as well as all three of my children. I really like to incorporate one scoop for children at breakfast. This gives them adequate protein they need to support metabolism and includes all the important vitamins and minerals they need for the multivitamin support. Clinical trials performed with UltraCare for Kids has proven its effectiveness in helping with atopic diseases (eczema, asthma, etc), healing a damaged digestive tract, and even reducing caloric intake from nutrient-poor calories throughout the day.
(2) Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
Kids need brain support. Their brains are growing. Their brains are important. I doubt any would argue that point. One of the most important fatty acids for brain support is DHA. I really like to use either DHA Care (a liquid form) or Life’s DHA (a vegetarian algae source of DHA). This will ensure your child receives the appropriate amounts of these essential fatty acids. 60% of your child’s brain is made up of this important fat and studies show that IQ can increase when fatty acids are optimal in the brain.
(3) Plant-Based Nutrients
Plants contain alkalizing nutrients that help to eliminate toxins, provide us with antioxidant protection, prevent cancer, and prevent the development of chronic diseases. I encourage you to have your child eat every color, every day at home. You can do this by trying new fruits and vegetables each day and letting your child acquire the new tastes for these foods. You can also consider juicing and smoothies to pack great phytonutrients in a tasty treat your family will enjoy. One of my favorite products is the Dynamic Greens that comes in the strawberry-kiwi flavor. My kids have been on this since a very young age and still today love their daily Dynamic Greens.
(4) Vitamin D3
Vitamin D is important. Vitamin D is essential for proper immune function, helps with bone development and strength, and prevents the development of autoimmune diseases. I use a micellized D3 that contains 1000 IU per drop.
Probiotics are good bacteria that can be placed back into the body. When a child takes an antibiotic this will disrupt the important balance of bacteria in the gut. This can lead to gastrointestinal problems, cognitive/behavioral issues, food allergies, inflammation, and hormonal imbalances. The majority of your immune system resides in your gut, as well as the majority of neurotransmitter manufacturing occurs here. So taking care of your gut is a central theme in natural medicine. I like to use the probiotic with the appropriate strains of bacteria most beneficial for general maintenance of gut health. These can be found in Ultra Flora Plus DF. This capsule can be swallowed or opened up for those children that can’t swallow capsules.
The “average” child suffers with chronic ear infections, constipation, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. This leads to prescription medications being given at younger and younger ages. If you want your child to be “average” then you can continue a diet that is deleterious to their health, use sugar-laden processed foods, don’t take a multiple vitamin and cross your fingers hoping for the best. Your second option is to do what many parents across the country are doing…take charge of your own child’s health. Watch what they eat, give them access to real foods with high intake of fruits and vegetables and supplement their diet with the necessary things that will allow them to have an optimal brain, an optimal body and an optimal life!