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Thursday, November 5, 2009

kids and vitamins.confused?

Confused and frustrated about finding a good quality multi-vitamin for your kids? Well, here is a list of do's and dont's and what to look for in a good children's supplement:

~choose one without iron
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 reported 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.

~Choose one with the right kind of sweetener and not too much of it
Natural sugars, like the sucrose found in fruits and vegetables, are your healthiest sweeteners. However, 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 it doesn't contain an ingredient called "magnesium stearate"
this is a potential toxic substance that is used in pill form vitamins and can disrupt the intestines. It is used as a "other ingredient" in so many different vitamins so read the label.

~Make sure it 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
  • Soy protein
  • Milk and dairy
  • Corn
  • 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

Here's a table showing examples of  potential risky ingredients. It also illustrates how two of the most popular children's multivitamin formulas stack up.

Multivitamin Ingredient
Flintstones Complete?
Centrum® Kids Complete?
If child consumes entire bottle can overdose and die
Artificial flavors
Term used for unknown synthetic and artificial chemicals
Food additive causing potential gastrointestinal disorders
Hydrogenated vegetable oil
This oil is a trans fat which can weaken your kids' immune and cardiovascular systems

Artificial sweetener (also known as NutraSweet™) linked to potential immune system and neurological problems
FD&C Red #40 Lake
Synthetic dye shown to cause potential colon system damage
FD&C Yellow #6 and Blue #2 Lake
Synthetic dyes linked to potential hyperactivity and behavioral problems in children
Magnesium stearate (or stearic acid)
A potential toxic metal additive from pill production and hydrogenated oils

*Although the correct supplementation is important, nothing will replace good wholesome organic foods. So teach your children healthy lifestyles now and it will follow them when they are older!!
~for our kids...Be Well.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, ok I can make some this weekend if you guys like! I wish we had mango though!