6 Signs Your Kids Don't Need Vitamin SupplementsKJ Dell'Antonia
Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reports that vitamin supplements for kids are a billion dollar business–but plenty of pediatricians worry about the risks of overloading on supplements, and both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dietetic Association say it’s best if kids can get the nutrients they need through eating a varied diet. Not only do some nutrients tend to be better absorbed from food than from supplements (true of both calcium, iron, and vitamins D and A) but because in addition to the nutrients we can identify, foods offer other benefits–some of which, like flavonoids and antioxidants, we’re beginning to recognize, and others of which we’re still unaware.
But it’s tempting to give a child who you know would really prefer to subsist on a diet of Goldfish and chocolate milk supplements to fill on for all of the broccoli and chicken he seems to leave on his plate. How do you know if your child really needs vitamins–or better, how do you know if he doesn’t?
6 signs your kid doesn’t need extra vitamins:
If you are giving your kids supplements, studies name a few to watch out for, like Vitamin A (toxic in really large quantities) and zinc (according to the study published in Appetite and described above, too much zinc can suppress the immune response). And if you’re not, then ramp up the blueberries and broccoli, and don’t knock the Froot Loops quite so hard.