Everywhere you look whether it’s Google, Instagram, tv commercials… There’s a lot of fear mongering about nutrients. What’s the solution we see all the time? Multivitamins. I’d like to present you with a number of considerations to help you determine if your child needs one.
First, here are some facts:
- Gummy vitamins are not regulated by the FDA
- A recent report found 80% of gummy vitamins tested did not have the same amounts of vitamins/minerals stated on the label
- Many gummy vitamins contain added colors and sugars (not all)
- Due to the sticky nature of gummy vitamins, they increase the risk of cavities
Let’s address another question: Does my child NEED a multivitamin?
The answer is usually “no”
Parents feel the need to “cover their bases” to ensure their child is getting enough. If your child is eating a wide variety of foods, it’s very unlikely you need a supplement.
If you’re offering a wide variety of food and your child isn’t eating them – it’s time to talk to you pediatrician or preferably a pediatric dietitian to get an evaluation.
If you or your child are low in a certain vitamin or mineral (as diagnosed by your doctor), it’s best to only supplement that nutrient to avoid toxicity and unnecessary high intake of other nutrients.
The last point I wanted to make was that gummy vitamins look like candy. It’s simply not a good idea to teach children that anything remotely close to a medication is fun or candy-like.
If your doctor or dietitian does recommend a supplement, choose a liquid or even a chewable and explain to your child what it actually is. This simultaneously builds trust and models the cautionary behavior parents want when it comes to medicines/drugs.
The take home messages are:
- Children very rarely require a multivitamin supplement
- Gummy vitamins aren’t regulated by the FDA
- Food first (before supplements) is the best policy
- Focus on providing a variety of nutrient-dense foods
- Eat the same foods as your child
- Eat together and model the behavior you want
- If your child has a diagnosed deficiency and requires supplementation, supplement that vitamin/mineral only and opt for a chewable or liquid version
- Explain to your child what it is (medicine)
I sure hope this helps! Save or pin this post for easy future access.
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Melinda · December 10, 2019 at 6:30 pm
So helpful, thank you! When I was around 5, I climbed up onto the counter and ate about half a bottle of Flinstone vitamins because they tasted good. So, I will not be doing that with my kiddos. However, prenatal gummy vitamins were a lifesaver for me while pregnant – I was so sick that I couldn’t keep any other vitamins down.
Thalia · December 10, 2019 at 9:35 pm
Melinda, that’s definitely a time when something like a gummy vitamin is applicable!