Which children need supplementation?

Which children need supplementation?
3 min read
22 November 2023

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, toddlers and older children who eat a well-balanced diet generally do not need vitamin and mineral supplements.
However, children at risk of nutrient deficiencies may require a supplement. Below are some examples in which a dietary supplement may be necessary.

Children eating a vegan or vegetarian diet

Children eating a vegan diet need to take a vitamin B12 supplement. This is because vitamin B12 is only present in animal products, such as meat and dairy. Some fortified plant-based foods contain vitamin B12.
In a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, researchers did not find any clinically meaningful differences in growth or other measures of nutrition in children raised on a vegetarian diet.
A child may need a supplement if they eat a plant-based diet that does not include all essential food groups.A person can ask a dietitian for advice on planning plant-based meals and snacks for their child.

Children with celiac disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which gluten consumption causes the immune system to attack the tissues of the small intestine.

Children with celiac disease cannot absorb nutrients efficiently due to damage to the gut lining. They often need additional vitamins and minerals in the form of a supplement. A doctor can advise a parent or caregiver on the best type of supplement to provide.

Children with darker skin

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services Trusted Source, children with dark skin may have lower vitamin D levels than those with light skin. This is because darker skin contains a higher concentration of the pigment melanin. Melanin reduces the absorption of sunlight, thereby reducing the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D.
However, a 2018 article Trusted Source highlights a paradox among Black Americans. Although Black Americans have markedly low vitamin D levels, they have fewer bone-related health issues than white Americans with similar vitamin D status.
Specifically, Black Americans experience fewer fractures and fewer cases of osteopenia. Osteopenia is the medical term for lower-than-average bone density.
Currently, no guidelines state children with darker skin need vitamin D supplementation.

Child nutrition tips for caregivers

The United States Department of Agriculture information tool My Plate offers information on how to plan a child’s meal to support healthy growth and development.
Some children may have an underlying medical condition that reduces their ability to absorb certain nutrients. In such cases, a doctor can advise a person on which supplements to provide.

How to choose the best vitamins for kids

When providing a dietary supplement, people should choose one with the recommended daily amounts of the necessary nutrients. Most minerals and multivitamin formulas contain nutrients in balanced amounts. People should avoid giving a child a supplement that contains nutrient amounts that exceed the recommended guidelines.

Parents and caregivers should also choose supplements with childproof packaging. This will prevent children from eating supplements, which they may mistake for sweets.

A person should consult a healthcare professional regarding multivitamin for kids. Check the product’s specifications and review this information with a physician before using it.


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George Marry 0
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