With a lack of definitive research, and differences of opinion between many medical professionals on the topic, many parents are unsure whether providing their child a multivitamin is beneficial. The controversy grows, given certain conflicting studies that seem to indicate a possible link between multivitamin use and asthma or food allergy. The evidence for this correlation, however, doesn’t stand scrutiny. The reality is that giving children multivitamins is a great way to promote their well-being, and defend against possible health risks.
Here are ten reasons why.
- Nutritional Insurance: In an ideal world, children can get all of their nutritional needs met by a healthy diet. Indeed, a flawless diet and perfect living conditions do have the potential to meet childrens’ nutritional needs. However, such circumstances are rare. Most children go through a fussy eating phase of development, at which point it can be difficult or impossible to ensure their diet is perfectly balanced. A multivitamin provides an insurance to make sure that any nutritional deficiencies of the child are supplemented for.
- 2.A Lack of Direct Sunlight: Vitamin D is crucially important for childrens’ growth as it facilitates the absorption of calcium, promoting reliable bone growth. Vitamin D can become active in the body through the skin’s exposure to sunlight. However many babies and toddlers do not experience direct sunlight exposure in large quantities. A Multivitamin can help to curtail a lack of Vitamin D, crucial for better mineral absorption, healthy teeth, and strong bones.
- Possible Nonverbal IQ Improvement: One study found that multivitamin supplementation correlated with an increase in nonverbal IQ scores at a rate higher than placebo. The cause of the effect is not completely clear, and more research must be done to establish causation. However, 44 children in the study showed an improvement of 15 points in their nonverbal IQ score, compared with 25 children in the placebo group. This suggests that children who take a multivitamin on a regular basis could experience some cognitive benefits.
- Addressing Dietary Restrictions: While the medical community remains divided over whether multivitamins are necessary for all children, there is a consensus that they are necessary for children with strict dietary restrictions such as vegetarianism and veganism. These dietary restrictions can lead to serious nutritional deficiencies without careful planning and supplementation. Multivitamins are a key part of making sure childrens’ nutritional wholeness is not compromised.
- Poor Dietary Habits: The sad truth is that many Americans’ diets are deeply flawed. According to Healthcare Weekly, the average American will only eat one fruit and two vegetables per day. If American adults demonstrate such negligence when it comes to keeping themselves healthy, it’s sure to follow that many children are not receiving the proper portions of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. While multivitamins are no substitute for a balanced diet, they can help curb some of the nutritional deficiencies that a poor diet produces.
- Iron and Calcium Deficiencies: Iron and calcium deficiencies are unfortunately common among growing children, and can result in low energy levels and decreased bone strength. As proper amounts of these important nutrients can be difficult to integrate into the diets of growing children, supplementing with a multivitamin is a great way to ensure proper levels of both.
- Benefits to the Immune System: Optimal levels of Vitamin C provide benefits to children by boosting their immune system. It’s also needed to support collagen production, and it’s even used by the body to make skin, tendons, and blood vessels. There is even evidence to suggest that Vitamin C could aid in cancer prevention. Multivitamin supplementation can help ensure optimal levels of Vitamin C, providing the support the body needs to perform these important tasks.
- Better Moods: Proper nutrition through supplementation has been linked in studies to mood enhancement for several reasons. A lack of Vitamin D has been correlated to depression, and some chronic conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and autoimmune disease. Low levels of Vitamin B are known to cause anxiety, irritability, and fatigue. Selenium is also important for mental health, with low levels coinciding with depression. Finally, Magnesium is known for its relaxing benefits, and positive effects on the nervous system. Multivitamins can ensure children are covering all their bases so that they have the nutrition they need to maintain an optimal mood.
- Healthier Skin: Optimal levels of Vitamin E and other nutrients contribute to healthier, more moisturized skin, lower instances of skin cancer, reduced skin itching, and, in some cases, the alleviation of some symptoms of eczema. At least one study has linked proper levels of Vitamin E and other nutrients to a reduction in Psoriasis symptoms. There is also some research that suggests that Vitamin E could be linked to reduced severity of sunburn. Finally, proper levels of Vitamin E promotes nail health. Having a child take a multivitamin can ensure levels of this crucial nutrient to promote healthy skin at a formative stage of development.
- Building Good Habits: Habits take time to form, and good habits are one of the best indicators of positive health outcomes. Teaching children the importance of health by integrating a multivitamin into their routine can help build the habit to take time for health. Children are particularly malleable to new habits and lifestyle changes. Introducing a multivitamin into their daily ritual will help to mold an emphasis on health throughout the rest of their life.
We’ve seen many reasons why multivitamins are a great idea for growing children. While some maintain that multivitamins for children are not necessary, it’s clear that they can be beneficial in many cases, and that there is little to no evidence to suggest there could be any potential downsides. Investing in a good multivitamin for a child is an investment towards their health, nutritional completeness, habit formation, and safety. It’s an investment we should not doubt, and instead embrace, since all the data shows the positive health outcomes of making it.