Our “Best of” articles typically relate to nutritional supplements for adults. We always attempt to present both the positive and, if applicable, cautionary side to any category of products we review. In this article, our selections for the best multivitamin for kids, we will be especially diligent in delivering both the pros and cons and cautions, of providing vitamin and mineral supplements to your children.
You know that your children need essential vitamins and minerals to stay healthy and develop strong minds and bodies. Knowing precisely what nutrients and how much children need of each is not so easy. We offer this guide to help you ensure your kids are on the right track nutritionally.
Vitamins And Minerals Explained
Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients, meaning they are required in small amounts, yet they are vital to healthy development, disease prevention, and the wellbeing of children and adults alike. Since these micronutrients are not produced in the body, they must be derived from diet and possibly supplementation to meet your daily requirements.
There are two types of vitamins, water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are not stored by the body. Since they are eliminated, we require a daily supply in our diet. The water-soluble vitamins include the vitamin B-complex group, vitamin C, and vitamin A in its beta-carotene form. The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K, are stored in fat before they are absorbed into the bloodstream. Any excess of these vitamins is stored in the liver, and they are not needed every day. We will revisit fat-soluble in the potential side effects of vitamin supplementation.
Your Children Have Different Nutrient Needs
Although your kids need the same nutrients as you do, they usually require smaller amounts. As children grow, vitamins and minerals are essential to building strong bones, such as calcium and vitamin D. In a child’s early life, other nutrients, such as iron, zinc, iodine, choline, and vitamins A, B6, B12, and D are crucial for brain development.
To help you ensure your children are getting the appropriate amount of these nutrients for proper growth and development, we provide the chart below of Vitamin and Mineral Recommended Daily Allowances as published by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Institute of Medicine. Reprinted from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
Please note in the four to eight-year-old RDAs, recommendations are the same for both genders. In the nine to thirteen-year-old group, some RDAs vary by sex.
A few definitions may aid you in reviewing the above:
Mcg = microgram, or one-millionth of a gram
IU = an International Unit
As we see in the RDA chart, nutritional requirements for children are dependent on age and gender. Other considerations are size, growth rate, and activity level. According to health experts, young children between the ages of four and eight require 1,000–1,400 calories/day, and those aged nine to thirteen need 1,400–2,600 calories daily.
Are Your Children Meeting Their RDAs For Vitamins And Minerals?
According to the Mayo Clinic, most healthy children who are growing normally don’t need a multivitamin. They contend that foods, regular meals, and snacks are the best source of nutrients and provide the vitamins and minerals most preschoolers need.
However, despite your best efforts, your children may not always get all the vitamins and minerals they need. Your child may be a picky eater, experience a delay in physical development, have food allergies, or certain chronic diseases, or be on a restrictive diet, such as a strict vegan diet. In these instances, we recommend discussing the situation with your pediatrician as a multivitamin may be prescribed to address nutrient gaps and ensure your child is getting the nutrients they need.
Multivitamins for kids can give you peace of mind, knowing your child is getting the nutrients they require.
Multivitamin Supplements For Kids – Helping Your Child Get The Nutrients They Need
Multivitamins and multi-minerals as a category are the most frequently used dietary supplements in the natural products industry. Technically, a multivitamin is any supplement that contains more than one vitamin. In practice, most multivitamins contain a broad spectrum of vitamins and essential minerals.
Most adult multivitamins on the market contain too high a dose of some vitamins and not enough of others. Multis explicitly designed for kids recognize a child’s unique dietary needs and formulate products to meet children-specific RDAs. We consider a kid’s multivitamin an inexpensive insurance policy to provide the nutrients to ensure your child’s health. Today’s manufacturers formulate and develop their kid’s multis to appeal to children in fun shapes, colors, and delivery, such as gummies, and contain the right nutrients.
Does your child need to supplement with a multivitamin product? Perhaps, if they don’t get sufficient vitamins and minerals from their diet, they have certain medical conditions or have a vitamin deficiency.
Most Common Vitamin And Mineral Deficiencies In Children
The most common nutrient deficiencies in children are iron, vitamin D, calcium, and zinc. Below we highlight these nutrients and why they are crucial for your child’s development.
Iron Deficiency – iron is essential for our bodies to function, it plays a role in everything from digestion to muscle function, and cognitive development
Vitamin D Deficiency – vitamin D is vital for healthy growth, strong bones, and plays an important role in immunity. In the U.S., deficiency may be as high as 40% in our children
Calcium Deficiency – vital for healthy bones, teeth, and muscle function. The National Institutes of Health notes 80 to 90% of girls ages nine to eighteen take in less than the recommended daily amount of calcium, and 60 to 80% of boys take in too little calcium
Zinc Deficiency – zinc plays a role in growth, tissue repair, wound healing, and the immune response
The Benefits Of Multivitamins For Kids
The first benefit accrues to you, the parent, as any potential gaps in your child’s nutrients be gone! As with any supplement, a multivitamin is a supplement to your child’s diet and should not take the place of eating a variety of healthy foods. A healthy diet provides far more than just vitamins and minerals. Despite your best efforts, your child may have nutritional gaps and can benefit from the daily nutrition provided by a multivitamin.
- Vitamins A, C, D, and E are important for supporting immune health
- Contribute to antioxidant health to combat free radicals
- Growing children need to replenish their supply of B vitamins daily for enhanced energy
- May prevent chronic diseases
- Healthy brain function
- Eye health
Essential Vitamins And Minerals For Growing Kids
- Vitamin A – promotes growth and development; tissue and bone repair; healthy skin, eyes, and immune responses.
- B vitamins, B2, B3, B6, and B12 aid metabolism, energy production, and healthy circulatory and nervous systems
- Vitamin D – promotes healthy muscles, connective tissue, and skin
- Calcium – helps build strong bones as a child grows
- Iron – builds muscle and is essential to healthy red blood cells
Will A Multivitamin Benefit My Child?
We consider a Kids multi a very cost-effective way to ensure your child is getting the nutrients they need. If your child falls into any below categories, we recommend you consult your pediatrician for their recommendation:
- Finicky eaters – don’t consume sufficient nutrients
- Those who don’t eat regular, well-balanced meals
- Children with chronic medical conditions such as asthma or digestive problems
- Kids eating a lot of fast food, convenience food, or processed food
- Children on a vegan diet
- Kids who eat dairy-free
- Kids who drink a lot of carbonated sodas
When choosing your child’s multivitamin, choose one that is age-appropriate. Read the label and nutritional panel – don’t purchase a product that delivers more than 100 percent of your child’s RDAs for vitamins and minerals.
Particularly with gummies, keep multivitamins stored safely, out of your child’s reach, and stress vitamins are a kind of medicine, not candy.
Potential Side Effects Of Kid’s Vitamin Supplementation
Children’s over-the-counter vitamin supplements are generally considered safe, with minimal side effects. As mentioned, some brands come in chewable form in case your child has difficulty swallowing. Despite the fun colors and shapes, they are a type of medicine, not a snack.
Higher Than Recommended Dosages Can Cause Problems
We must stress that higher than recommended dosages can cause problems. Vitamin or mineral supplements can be toxic to children when taken in excess amounts. This is especially true with the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K stored in body fat. Another example, giving your child high doses of vitamin C in hopes of preventing colds and the flu can cause a child to have nausea, diarrhea, and cramps.
As always, we highly recommend you talk with your child’s doctor before starting any new supplement. This is especially applicable if your child is on a medication.
Alternatives To Multivitamins For Kids
Revisiting the Mayo Clinic’s position, most healthy children who are growing normally don’t need a multivitamin. Regular meals, and snacks, are the best source of nutrients and provide the vitamins and minerals most preschoolers need.
To ensure your children are getting adequate amounts of nutrients so that they don’t need supplements, make sure their diet contains a variety of nutritious foods.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains – brown rice and steel-cut oats
- Lean protein – chicken, fish, meat, and eggs
- Healthy fats
- Milk and dairy products – cheese and yogurt
A nutrient-rich diet for kids should limit added sugars, highly processed foods, and fast foods.
Best Multivitamin For Kids
For our selection of the best Kid’s multivitamin supplements, we scoured the market for brands that adhere to the following principles:
- Products that are manufactured in a certified cGMP facility (Good Manufacturing Practices).
- We looked for companies and brands that have independent third-party testing and money-back guarantees.
- Our picks tend to be natural, allergen-free and made without fillers, additives, or artificial colors
Kids Complete Gummy Vitamins, from Smarty Pants
Smarty Pants’ products meet our criteria for cGMP certification and third-party testing. Their multivitamin formula is for children ages four and up. It is non-GMO and free of common allergens such as shellfish, soy, milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, and gluten. There are no artificial colors or flavors. No ingredient exceeds its RDA.
The product has a mix of Omega-3’s that come from wild-caught, sustainable fish. Its vitamin C dosage follows FDA recommendations and provides an immune system boost by promoting the repair of daily cell damage.GET THE BEST PRICE ON SMARTY PANTS KIDS COMPLETE GUMMY VITAMINS
L’il Critters Gummy Vites, Complete Kid’s Gummy, from Vita Fusion
Vita Fusion is another company that adheres to cGMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). We selected Gummy Vites as the best budget Gummy for your L’il Critter. The product contains no gluten, synthetic dyes, colorings, and no artificial flavors, no dairy, or high fructose corn syrup.GET THE BEST PRICE ON L’IL CRITTERS GUMMY VITES
Kids Multi Gummies, from Garden of Life
One of the most reputable companies in the natural products space is Garden of Life. We love their Kids Multi Gummies as they contain nine organic whole fruits in every bottle. Their product is nut-free, with no synthetic ingredients, artificial flavors, or colors. Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project verified, certified vegan, certified gluten-free, and Kosher.
MyKind vitamins are specially formulated to have the essential nutrients and antioxidants to support kids’ health.GET THE BEST PRICE ON GARDEN OF LIFE KIDS MULTI GUMMIES
Whole Food Vitamin Gummies for Kids, from Naturelo
Non-GMO and all-natural vitamins and minerals formulated for children aged two and up. This is an extremely clean product suitable for vegans or vegetarians. Made in the U.S. in a GMP certified facility and third-party tested for purity. The product comes in a berry flavor that children love.GET THE BEST PRICE ON WHOLE FOOD VITAMIN GUMMIES FOR KIDS
Stacking Other Supplements With Vitamins & Minerals
For perhaps the first time in our experience, we are not recommending stacking your child’s multivitamin with any other supplement. Sure, your child can enjoy and benefit from a bit of extra protein in a great tasting smoothie or protein shake. Still, we are not recommending protein supplementation for children as a standard regimen.
To Summarize: Best Multivitamins For Kids
Kids who eat healthy, balanced diets typically meet their nutrient needs through food. However, if your child’s diet creates gaps, multivitamins are a great, low-cost solution.
We heartily endorse vitamin supplementation for picky eaters, children with certain health conditions, or those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. When providing vitamins to children, be sure to choose high-quality brands, like those in our picks, that contain age-appropriate doses.