“All in one” has become a salvation for today’s busy society, but should that apply to our children’s multivitamins?
As a health practitioner, one of your main concerns is to ensure the proper nutrition of your patients. Providing parents with accurate information concerning multivitamin content is pivotal to achieving that end. It is essential for parents to know what’s in the multivitamins they give to their children, but it is even more important to understand where they fall short.
Why the Standard Diet Isn’t Enough
A common deterrent from taking multivitamins is the belief that the standard American diet should provide us with all of our necessary nutrients. That is a misconception. The fact is that we are eating more heavily processed foods than ever before, and these foods lack the basic nutrients that we need in a healthy diet.
Additionally, our soil standards for growing fruit and vegetables have dropped. The result is a lower nutrient content in our foods. Working together, these factors create a diet lacking in vitamins and minerals that we need to lead a healthy lifestyle and stave off illness and nutrient deficiency.
Not All Multivitamins Are Created Equally
Recognizing the need to incorporate a multivitamin into the diet of today’s children is half the battle. With the current recommended daily allowances being an insufficient measure of every individual’s needs, it is difficult to find a children’s multivitamin on the market that fulfills children’s dietary needs.
By studying the nutritional facts of children’s multivitamins, it becomes apparent that many of them lack the nutrient profile and potency needed in a child’s daily diet. Some pediatric vitamins are deficient of the right levels of any given vitamin or mineral needed to support any given child’s unique needs.
Vitamin D is an excellent example of a variable need among children. Depending on where you live, it may be impossible to spend enough time in the sun to support the healthy production of vitamin D in the body. For this reason, in some places, a child may need an extra high dosage as a supplement. The recommendation for most children over 4 is 20mcg per day, whereas most pediatric supplements will only contain 400iu.
Additionally, many kids vitamins contain fillers and binders, such as magnesium stearate, magnesium oxide, and soy lecithin. Moreover, many brands on the market add sugar and harmful dyes to their pediatric vitamins to increase their appeal to children. Overall, many of today’s children’s multivitamins are little more than fun treats with limited health benefits.
What to Look for in a Children’s Multivitamin
A good quality kid's multivitamin will contain a variety of vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, K, and C. The minerals present should support bone and tooth health, as well as overall development. Look out for the entire B family of vitamins and folic acid in methylated forms for better absorption rates and utilization. Natural botanical extracts, like elderberry, are also essential for immune system support.
Additionally, fiber and a good probiotic are necessary for the support of a healthy GI tract. While this helps to maintain regularity, fiber may support healthy insulin sensitivity and cause the body to absorb less fat.
Fiber and Curcumin
The gut-brain axis relies on a healthy GI tract, which is achieved through the absorption of the proper amounts of fiber on a daily basis. Neurotransmitters produced in a wholesome digestive environment play a role in impacting brain health. For this reason, it is important to ensure that children have enough fiber in their diet.
Curcumin is an extract of turmeric and a strong proponent of a healthy GI tract. Its more bioavailable form, CurcuWIN, has an absorbency rate 46 times better than standard curcumin¹. As a supporter of GI tract health and the gut-brain axis, this is a great benefit for children in their developmental phase. Curcumin is vital in a top-shelf children’s multivitamin, as it supports a healthy inflammatory response and immune system function.
When scanning the market for a suitable children’s multivitamin, remember to check the ingredients, and don’t be tempted to grab candy-colored tablets and jellies. Children may be more likely to enjoy them, but the overall nutritional value of these over-the-counter kids multivitamins won’t do much for their health. Consider a multivitamin that contains high-quality ingredients at appropriate levels to support a healthy diet. Proper probiotics, prebiotics, and herbal extracts are essential for supporting all facets of a child’s inflammatory response, as well as their eye, brain, digestive, and immune health. Parents looking for high-quality children's vitamins should consult their integrative medicine practitioner or pediatrician.
¹"Comparative absorption of curcumin formulations - NCBI." 24 Jan. 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3918227/. Accessed 23 Jun. 2019.