Supplements should not be used to excuse, or make up for, a poor diet or lifestyle. They just won’t cancel each other out. The way the nutrients in real, whole foods interact with our body is complex – more than we realise.
For a healthy person consuming a balanced, real, whole food diet, taking a daily multi may not be needed. But many may argue our soils are deplete of nutrients, and our bodies and minds under more demand than ever, upping the requirement for nutritional supplementation.
Whether one requires more of a certain nutrient will come down to their individual situation. Even for someone who has a (mostly) whole foods diet, they may experience times when a boost of vitamin C, B vitamins, or magnesium is required to manage hay fever, boost energy, or help with sleep respectively.
But what about supplementing our kids?
Sweet, sweet gummy
Supplements for children are often provided as a powder to mix into food or drink, a chewable pill, a liquid, or a chewy gummy.
The latter are often sweetened with glucose, sucrose or artificial sweeteners. However, you will be lucky to find this mentioned on the label. Or if it does, it won’t offer an amount.
Natures Way Kid Smart Vita Gummies, for example, contains glucose syrup and added sugar. But we don’t know how much.
However, if the gummy does not contain a heap of sweetener, generally the manufacturer will add some statement to the label to make sure you know about it!
A case in point being Blackmores Vitamin C and Zinc Gummies, which claim to contain no added sugar and no artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners.
The best way to ascertain whether the gummy supplements you are offering your littlie are laden with added sugars or artificial sweeteners is to contact the manufacturer directly.
Any which way, supplementing your child’s diet with a gummy vitamin pill should be treated as medicine, not a lolly!
Too much of particular single nutrients, such as iron, are dangerous. And excess sugar consumption can lead to all manner of issues, including dental caries, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome.
Supplements can be incredibly helpful when children are unwell or are experiencing a health condition that requires a boost of specific nutrients. For example, studies show positive health effects for supplementing probiotics for skin and gastrointestinal issues, and zinc and vitamin C for boosting immunity.1-6
We would suggest chatting with your healthcare practitioner for any prescription specific to your child’s needs, as dosing must be measured according to a child’s age, weight, or particular requirements.
And again, popping a daily pill is in no way a replacement for a poor diet.
So, supercharge your little superheroes and first and foremost, boost nutrient intake through diet (though it can be a battle at times) by squeezing in a heap of veg and fruit to each of your kids meals 🙂
By Angela Johnson (BHSc Nut. Med.)
- Bekkali, N, Bongers, ME, Van den Berg, MM, Liem, O, & Benninga, MA 2007, ‘The role of a probiotics mixture in the treatment of childhood constipation: a pilot study’, Nutrition Journal, vol. 6, no. 17.
- Guandalini, S 2008, ‘Probiotics for children with diarrhea: an update’, Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 42, no. 2, pp. S53-7.
- Kurugo, Z Akilli, M Bayram, N et al. 2006, ‘The prophylactic and therapeutic effectiveness of zinc sulphate on common cold in children’, Acta Paediatrica, vol. 95, no. 10, pp. 1175-1181.
- Maggini, S Wenzlaff, S & Hornig, D 2010, ‘Essential role of vitamin C and zinc in child immunity and health’, Journal of International Medical Research, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 386-414.
- Sheikh, A Shamsuzzaman, S Ahmad, SM et al. 2010, ‘Zinc influences innate immune responses in children with enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli-induced diarrhea’, Journal of Nutrition, vol. 140, no. 5, pp. 1049-1056.
- Vandenplas, Y, Huys, G, & Daube, G 2015, ‘Probiotics: an update’, Jornal De Pediatria, vol. 91, no. 1, pp. 6-21.