Do my kids need vitamins?
The VITL Nutrition Team
We sit down with our nutritionists to discuss the circumstances under which children may benefit from supplementation, some of the key nutrients needed for normal development of your child, as well as the government’s advice on supplementation.
As children grow, it’s important that they consume enough nutrients to give them the best start in life. Whilst most children get adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids from a balanced diet, there are often circumstances where children need additional support through supplementation.
Why do kids need to supplement?
Most children get adequate amounts of nutrients from a balanced diet, but in certain circumstances, children need to take vitamins or minerals for extra support. Your child may benefit from taking vitamins if they:
- are a picky eater
- struggle to eat a variety of foods (especially fruits and vegetables)
- follow a vegetarian or vegan diet
- have a condition that affects nutrient absorption (such as celiac disease or inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS)
Key nutrients needed for development
Vitamin D is found in only a few foods, such as fatty fish and eggs, but the main source remains the sun. It is advised that children should not spend too much time in the sun in hot weather, however, and their skin needs to be covered and UV protected. The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that all children aged 1 to 4 years old should be given a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D.
Vitamin A is important for infants and young children, and some may not get enough of it - as liver and meat products are the biggest source of vitamin A. It’s needed for a healthy immune system, can help their vision and keep the skin healthy. It is also found in fortified foods and dark leafy vegetables (which provide beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A)!
Vitamin C, found in abundance in citrus fruits and red peppers, is also crucial for the kid’s overall wellness, including its ability to absorb iron and produce collagen for healthy bones. Vitamin C is also involved in many enzymatic reactions, in the modulation of functions of the central nervous system, and protection of cells from oxidative stress. Supplementation is often recommended, especially if your child is a picky eater!
What other nutrients are key for normal development?
As a rule, children need the same vitamins and minerals as adults but in smaller doses. As children grow, it’s important that they receive adequate amounts of nutrients that help build strong bones, such as calcium and vitamin D. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B9 (folate) and B12 are critical for brain development in the early years of life.
Supplementing for plant-based diets
Children who eat a plant-based diet are at risk of deficiencies in calcium, iron, and vitamin B12. A vegan diet can be particularly dangerous for children if these nutrients (especially vitamin B12), which are present naturally in animal foods, are not replaced by supplements or fortified foods (e.g. cereals or milk). Failure to replace these nutrients in children's diets can have serious consequences, such as impaired growth and development issues. Children with celiac disease or IBS may have difficulty absorbing various vitamins and minerals. This is because these conditions damage the areas of the gut responsible for intestinal absorption.
According to the Department of Health and Social Care, all children aged 6 months to 5 years are recommended to take supplements containing vitamins A, C and D every day.
Where to start with supplements
Even though children need fewer vitamins and minerals than adults, they still need to consume enough of these nutrients to grow and develop properly. Our new kids gummies provide the 3 top essential nutrients recommended for supplementation, including vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin C, alongside a wide range of B vitamins to support normal energy release from food and omega-3 for normal brain development!
Buy our super tasty Kids Multivitamins gummies here!