Kids, in general, don’t require supplements as their body absorbs nutrients well and most deficiencies can be overcome with a balanced diet. Children on a vegetarian or vegan diet might need supplements for key omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, iron, vitamins A, D, B1,B2, B3, B6 and B12. Make sure supplements are under moderation to avoid harmful side-effects.
Healthy children who are physically active and well-rounded do not necessarily need supplements to amp up their health. Most whole foods contain the required nutrients for your child’s good health. If you are planning on including vitamin supplements to your child’s diet, it may be time to think again because the intake of excess amounts of vitamins may actually be detrimental to health.
According to a study which conducted large-scale randomized trials in the past two decades, results have shown that for the majority of the population, MVM supplements were ineffective and posed a health risk .
Covering For Deficiencies
Deficiencies are not instantly recognizable. As a parent, it is imperative that you get a comprehensive idea about your child’s diet and deduce the sources of key vitamins to ensure that you have them covered. Closely observe signs of vitamin deficiencies in your kids such as fatigue, weight loss or shortness of breath.
If they display these symptoms then its time to rethink the diet composition of your child. Supporting this transition phase with supplements will help prevent the symptoms to aggravate. But ensure that you wean away from supplements as you steadily improve the food quality on your child’s plate. Chewable vitamin tablets are available as over-the-counter supplements.
Do Vegetarians Require Supplements?
A vegetarian diet promises a healthier cardiovascular system and can prevent the risk of Type 2 diabetes and cancers . However, vegetarians will most likely find themselves short on key omega-3 fatty acids. While food items like flax seed, canola oil, English walnuts and specialty eggs are considered good sources of omega-3, they contain only one basic member of the omega-3 fat family – which is the ALA component. So vegetarians will always miss out on other key components like EPA, Eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) .
Vegetarian diet contains low amounts of Vitamins D, A, Zinc and iron as compared to a meat based diet. So vegetarians need to consume larger quantities of food or supplement the shortage with multivitamins. In addition, vegans, will need supplements to cover for vitamins normally obtained from dairy products such as – B12 and calcium and Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6, available from meat products.
Vitamin supplements are NOT needed to supplement for deficiencies in children. Adopting a nutrient rich balanced diet should mitigate any such shortcomings. In case you do choose to use supplements, exercise caution when consuming these in excess as they can cause numerous health problems. Utilize the abundant bounties of nature to help your children lead a healthier life.
- Kamangar, Farin and Ashkan Emadi. “Vitamin and mineral supplements: Do we really need them?.” International journal of preventive medicine 3.3 (2012): 221.
- How to Be a Healthy Vegetarian. The Center for Young Women’s Health (CYWH), 2013.
- Dietary Sources Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. DHA/EPA Omega-3 Institute.
Edited By Madhumita