Supplementing daily with a multi-nutrient for children is essential, as whole food products have decreased in nutritional content and quality. In addition, the toxic body burden acquired from the state of the environment calls for more fundamental nutrients to assist in normal functions of the body. Children of all ages need a daily nutritional supplement to maximize their potential growth and development. While the needs of the body change throughout childhood, a basic multi-nutrient can improve general daily health status. Choosing a high quality multi-nutrient is essential; lower quality nutritional supplements may contain additives and ingredients that contribute to ill health rather than improve it. Buying high quality supplements is an investment in a child’s health.
Avoiding Additives. First, avoid unnecessary additives that affect the quality of the supplement and can be harmful if taken long-term. In the ‘other ingredients’ portion of the label, there should only be 1-2 additional ingredients. If the ‘other ingredients’ list is extensive, the supplement likely contains unnecessary fillers, additives, and preserving agents. Similar to food, the more unnecessary and unrecognizable ingredients on the label, the more processed the product is. Typically, there will be two additional ingredients in a supplement necessary to bind the ingredients together. A quality supplement may state it contains vegetable cellulose and vegetable stearate. A lower quality supplement will also contain titanium dioxide, corn maltodextrin, silicon dioxide, soybean oil, and other additives.
Best Vitamin Forms. A quality children’s supplement is also easily distinguishable by the biochemical forms of certain vitamins and mineral ingredients. An easy one to spot is the form of B12 on the label. B12 must always come in the form called methylcobalamin versus the lower quality (and for some toxic) form of B12 called cyanocobalamin. Extensive research confirms methylcobalamin to be the superior and healthier form of B12 due to certain individual’s inability to metabolize cyanocobalamin. A quick look at this ingredient on a supplement is an easy sign as to whether the supplement is of decent quality or not. Another key ingredient to distinguish quality is folate, otherwise known as folic acid. Folate is the preferred form as again, some individuals cannot process folic acid. A review of these two vitamins can be a simple way to assess the quality, and it is essential to take these two particular vitamins in the stated biochemical forms.
Supplement Must Haves. While there are many nutrients a child requires for health development, certain nutrients require daily supplementation. Key ingredients to look for in a multi-nutrient are vitamin D3, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A or beta carotene, B vitamins, zinc, and vitamin C. Of course, an extensive multi-nutrient covering a broad range of vitamins and minerals is best, but any multi-nutrient should contain these key ingredients, in their best form, and with little added ‘other ingredients.’
Dr. Sinsheimer is a naturopathic doctor with Optimal Health Center in Palm Desert and can be reached at (760) 568.2598.