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|11-4-2009 - Kids and Vitamin Supplements
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Do Your Kids Even Need Multivitamins and Mineral Supplementation?
The reality, however, is that your kids are growing at lightning speed both mentally and physically. To fuel their growth, they need proper nutrition and regular exercise. Without them, nourishment deficiencies and inactivity could lead to future health issues.
In other words, your kids need proper nutrition and exercise as much as, if not more than YOU do.
I've been outspoken for some time about the importance of eating as much organically, biodynamically, and locally grown foods as you can. This by far is one of the best paths toward optimal health for your family.
Plus, I cannot stress enough the imp ortance of getting daily amounts of omega-3s -- for both you and your kids. Omega-3s are essential for your kids' neurological development.*
I recommend you make every effort to plan as many wholesome meals as possible -- and do your utmost to replace soda and sugary juices with clean, fresh water.
Remember -- your kids will follow your lead.
The best possible form of vitamins and minerals for your kids is from high quality unprocessed organic and locally grown food. However, I realize this can be challenging for many parents.
So, the rest of this report will focus on the supplement insurance policy you might want to consider for your children. I will focus on what you need to be concerned with if you choose to give your children a supplement.
WARNING -- Proceed with Caution when Considering a Children's Multivitamin with Vitamin D and Iron!!
As I mentioned earlier most children’s multivitamins contain some problem ingredients and may be downright risky for your kids. I've seen too many formulas that contain artificial and potentially toxic ingredients.
Here's a table showing examples of what I believe to be potential risky ingredients. It also illustrates how two of the most popular children's multivitamin formulas stack up.
|Multivitamin Ingredient||Description||Flintstones™ Complete?||Centrum® Kids Complete?|
|Iron||If child consumes entire bottle can overdose and die||Yes||No|
|Vitamin D||Impossible to have correct dose, too low to be useful||Yes||Yes|
|Artificial flavors||Term used for unknown synthetic and artificial chemicals||Yes||Yes|
|Carrageenan||Food additive causing potential gastrointestinal disorders||Yes||Yes|
|Hydrogenated vegetable oil||This oil is a trans fat which can weaken your kids' immune and cardiovascular systems||Yes|| |
|Aspartame||Artificial sweetener (also known as NutraSweet™) linked to potential immune system and neurological problems||Yes||Yes|
|FD&C Red #40 Lake||Synthetic dye shown to cause potential colon system damage||Yes||Yes|
|FD&C Yellow #6 and Blue #2 Lake||Synthetic dyes linked to potential hyperactivity and behavioral problems in children||Yes||Yes|
|Magnesium stearate (or stearic acid)||A potential toxic metal additive from pill production and hydrogenated oils||Yes||Yes|
As you know, I've been absolutely fanatic about emphasizing your need for vitamin D... and that applies to your children as well.
So, you would think it would be wise to choose a multivitamin containing vitamin D. But my recommendation is actually counter intuitive -- I recommend you do NOT use a supplement with vitamin D.
How can that be?
Let me explain. During the summer when your kids receive regular doses of sunshine on large amounts of their skin, they do not need any oral vitamin D -- they receive all they need from sunlight.
However, in the winter if they are not getting UVB exposure from a safe tanning bed, they will need LARGE doses of vitamin D. The dose will be on the order of 2,000 to 5,000 units per day (typically around 1000 units for every 30 pounds of body weight).
If this dose was in your children's multi and they took it in the summer, it would create vitamin D toxicity. If your children used a lower dose, it would be safe in the summer but virtually worthless in the winter.
So, rather than have your child take a supplement with the wrong dose of vitamin D it makes far more sense to provide them with a customized dose that depends on their individual circumstances. The typical dose of vitamin D for children is about 1000 units for every 30 pounds of body weight.
The challenge of course would be to provide the vitamin d in a form that most kids can take since they are unable to swallow pills. That is one of the primary reasons my team took two years to develop an elegant solution. A great tasting spearmint flavored spray that kids love.
This allows you to give them the best dose based on their weight and time of year. You won’t be locked into the wrong dose that is rarely or never right.
BUT please remember the only way to know for sure if you or your child is on the right dose is to test your blood levels for 25 hydroxy D.
Why Iron in Your Child’s Multi Can Send Them to the ER
Clearly most all children require iron and can be deficient. This is in contrast to nearly all post menopausal women and adult men where supplemental iron is typically toxic and can increase the risk of cancer and heart disease.
But iron can also be toxic to children if taken in large amounts. Tragically, this happens every day as children's chewable multivitamins taste so good. It's common for kids to consume an entire bottle at once thinking they are candy.
Everyday children are rushed to the ER with iron overdose from this scenario and many of them die.
When it comes to iron, I see three options for your children:
Good -- Find out if the supplement has iron. If it does, make sure the bottle has a child-proof cap and keep it away from your children.
Better -- Make sure the supplement does NOT have iron in the form of ferrous sulfate. It should be in the form of carbonyl iron. There has never been a=2 0reported fatality from this type of iron. It is very safe.
Best -- Provide your children with a multivitamin without any iron in it at all. Make sure your children obtain regular iron sources from their food.
Why Some Sugar is Not All that Bad for Your Kids
Let's face it. Your kids will not consume anything, much less a multivitamin, unless it tastes really good.
So, some sort of safe, natural sweetener needs to be included as an ingredient. Or you'll never have any success trying to get your kids to take them.
Well, what about natural sugar?
Natural sugars, like the sucrose found in fruits and vegetables, are your healthiest sweeteners.=2 0However, I didn't find evidence of natural sugars in the children's multivitamins I researched.
Instead, many of them contained Aspartame or high fructose corn syrup -- two unhealthy choices.
And when I say natural sugar is okay for your kids, of course I mean in moderation. I would recommend 1 g (gram) or less per multivitamin serving for your kids.
Yet, I found some multivitamins with as much as 3 g of sugar or more.
I realize multivitamins for your kids need to taste good, but 3 g of sugar (whether natural or not), is too much sweetener.
Make Sure Your Kids' Supplement is Allergen Free
Allergens can cause you and your children potential health challenges.
Double-check your children's multivitamin to ensure it is free from the following potential risky ingredients and allergens*:
Yeast and wheat gluten
Milk and dairy
Sodium and Starch
Artificial colors, preservatives, and flavorings
Sweeteners will need to be used in a chewable -- Make sure the sweetener is natural and has one gram or less of sugar per serving and does not have any high fructose corn syrup
Look for Chelated Minerals as Part of Your Kids' Multivitamin Nutrients
In your digestive process, when an inorganic mineral presents itself to your digestive system, a chemical conversion process starts to work -- chemically bonding the inorganic molecule to an organic molecule.
Chelation is the name of this process, and it creates an end product called a chelate.
This chelate can be seen on a cellular level as an organic compound that can now be absorbed and used in your child's body*.
But it is not a perfect biological world in your kids' digestive systems.
Many things can affect the efficiency of the natural chelation process. The mineral may come into contact with what are called "antagonists", and then get passed through your children's systems without being absorbed.
So select a supplement that has the minerals bonded to an organic molecule already in a form your kids' bodies can absorb.
The organic molecule used is typically an amino acid so the complexed mineral is called an amino acid chelate.
Verify Your Children's Multivitamin is Produced
by a Certified High Quality Manufacturer
You can start to feel good if your children's multivitamin avoids risky ingredients and includes those I recommend.
But if the multi is not made by a manufacturer committed to proven high-quality processes and practices, how consistent will it be for your children?
So, make sure your multivitamin manufacturer is highly certified and a dheres to strict quality practices...
Ensures top-quality raw materials used in the product -- Vendor Certification Program (VCP)
Complies with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) -- written Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
Maintains the highest health standards -- GMP certification
Supports the highest level of manufacturing quality standards -- ISO 9001 certification
Complies with a rigorous third-party certification of in-house lab performance -- ISO 17025 certification
Ensures finished products meet and exceed quality standards -- adherence to United States Pharmacopeia (USP30) specifications
Complies with health and safety measures -- Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002.
Don't Stop Searching Until You Find a Multivitamin
for Your Children that Meets These Criteria
Here' s a summary table that defines my extensive selection criteria you should use when selecting a children's multivitamin.
If your kids' multivitamin doesn't match up well with this, please keep searching. I'm sure you agree that settling for 2nd best is not an option for your children.
Multivitamin Selection Criteria
- Must taste good but contain less than 1g of natural sugar per serving -- chewable form is recommended
- Keeps sugar to a minimum and avoids artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup
- Avoid artificial flavors, food additives, hydrogenated oils, magnesium stearate, and synthetic dyes
- Keeps your kids from being exposed to these risky, unhealthy ingredients
- Find a multivitamin without vitamin D
- Avoids potential vitamin D overdose due to seasonal and climate variables
- Choose a multivitamin without iron
- Protects your kids from potential iron toxicity
- Make sure the formula is free from allergens
- Helps minimize allergic reactions from your kids when they take the multivitamin
- Ensure the multivitamin comes rich in essential minerals and trace minerals: calcium, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, boron, and vanadium...and look for chelated mineral forms (will show as amino acid chelates) in the formula
- Don't stop with just vitamin ingredients. Your kids need minerals for everything from healthy bone growth to heart and immune system support.*
- Chelated forms provide your kids with highly absorbable forms of specific minerals.*
- Contains natural beta carotene form of Vitamin A
- Essential to support your children's healt hy vision and immune systems*
- Contains 100% Daily Value (DV) of B complex vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, folic acid, and B12)
- Important for your kids' heart, teeth, bones, skin, gastrointestinal system, and overall cellular health*
- Comes with optimal amount of Vitamin C -- I recommend over 400% of DV
- Promotes tissue growth and repair, and healthy gums for your children*
- Includes natural Vitamin E (look for d-alpha forms of tocopherols)
- Helps support your children's healthy muscular systems*
- Ensure the multivitamin is produced by a certified high-quality manufacturer who carefully balances desirable taste with generous amounts of natural vitamins and minerals
- Helps guarantee consistent nutrient quality for your children
Please take the time to implement my 7-step guide designed to help you improve your family's nutrition and overall health. Remember, there's no better time to start than right NOW!
Lead by example by taking the time to plan family meals using wholesome, unprocessed foods
Replace soda and sugary juices with clean, fresh water
Limit your time in front of the TV and get out and ex ercise more
Make sure you receive daily amounts of omega-3s
Get plenty of sunshine
Put in place a comprehensive vaccine plan for your kids
Complement your family's diet with a high-quality multivitamin with essential minerals
Remember, your kids will follow your lead and need your help in getting the proper nutrition.
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