Do your kids need to take a supplement?

Do your kids need to take a supplement?

In an ideal world, we would all be eating a perfectly balanced, wholefood organic diet and live in the fresh air filled with plenty of exercise and lots of happiness!

REALITY CHECK! We don’t! We live in a highly demanding, fast paced world where food is transported miles and preserved using chemicals. The soils are depleted of nutrients due to the use of pesticides and we get less exercise and sun exposure than we should. Combine this with the increase in sugar consumption I think it’s fair to say we are asking A LOT of our bodies.

Personally, I give my children supplements. As you can imagine they have a good diet but it’s far from perfect. I live in the real world and it is impossible to get the balance right ALL the time.

I often hear that supplements are a waste of money and we should be able to get all of our nutrients from the food we eat. As stated above there are many arguments for the use of supplements and armed with the knowledge I have on nutrition I take supplements, my children take them and anyone I care about takes them!

So here are my recommendations.

Children Under 1 Year

One of the most important nutrients at this age is vitamin D, so if you are breastfeeding your baby you need to give a vitamin D supplement. Formula milk already contains the correct levels. For more information click HERE.

In some areas the Government recommend you give vitamin A, C & D due to the rise in cases of diseases such as rickets. However, if you include a good varied diet with fresh fruits and vegetables during weaning you should not need the A & C. For weaning tips click HERE.

The other supplement I often recommend at this age is a good probiotic. For babies born via C-section, those with reflux, any with a family history of allergies and for conditions such as constipation, eczema and asthma I would recommend a probiotic supplement.

Any other supplement programme would be recommended based on the information gained during a one to one consultation.

Recommended Products (please note you do not need all of these, this is a list of brands I recommend for their quality):

  • Biocare Children’s Biomulsion Vitamin D Drops
  • Biocare Children’s Complete Powder (suitable from 6 months)
  • Biocare Probiotics for Children & Babies
  • Proven Multi with Probiotics (different formula for breastfed or formula fed babies)
  • Optibac Probiotics for Babies & Children

NB: some multi formulas contain vitamin D so you will not need a separate one, check the label for vitamin D3.

Children 1-4 years

During this age there can be a number of vulnerable nutrients (i.e. iron, zinc, calcium etc) but it will depend on the child’s diet. Ideally you want to make sure that weaning is fully established and your child is eating a variety of foods.

However, this is typically the period where children can be quite selective over their choice of foods.

If you have a picky eater then giving a multi vitamin and mineral supplement would be a good idea.

If your child has had a stomach bug or had to take antibiotics then again, I would recommend a probiotic. Vitamin D is still needed at this age, especially in the winter months.

If you are using follow on/toddler milks then these will usually contain a broad spectrum of nutrients much like a multi. You can have too much of some nutrients, especially the fat-soluble ones!

Omega 3 supplements at this age would be very beneficial. Click HERE for more information.

Products (please note you do not need all of these, this is a list of brands I recommend for their quality):

  • Eskimo Little Cubs Liquid (omega 3)
  • Biocare Children’s Biomulsion Vitamin D Drops
  • Biocare Children’s Complete Powder
  • Biocare Probiotics for Children & Babies
  • Proven Multi with Probiotics (toddler formula)
  • Optibac Probiotics for Babies & Children

Children 4-11 years

This age is very crucial so I would recommend including a good quality multi (check to see if it contains vitamin D) plus an omega 3 supplement and use probiotics at the start of the school year, when anyone has a tummy bug or when antibiotics are needed.

Products (please note you do not need all of these, this is a list of brands I recommend for their quality):

  • Solgar Kangavites chewable multi
  • Lamberts Omega Berry Chewables (omega 3)
  • Lamberts Children’s Multi (chewable)
  • Eskimo Little Cubs (omega 3 liquid)
  • Udo’s Choice Junior Formula (probiotics)
  • Proven Multi with Probiotics (children’s formula)
  • Optibac Probiotics for Children
  • Better You Vitamin D spray
  • Nutrigold Child’s Play (this is a capsule)

For children 11-16 years

This is a time for great growth and hormone changes. It is well documented that that the diets of children at this age are very nutrient deficient and high in sugars and fats. A broad spectrum of nutrients is needed as well as a good supply of omega 3 and vitamin D.

Choose a multi aimed specifically at this age.

Good brands include Biocare, Lamberts, Vitabiotics, Wild Nutrition, Nutrigold, Proven, Solgar, Udo’s, Optibac and Nutri.

For more ways to help your children stay healthy check out my top tips here.

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