I’ve shared before the supplements I take regularly, and which ones are I add in specifically during pregnancy or nursing.
Supplements for Children…
Another time when nutrition is incredibly important and sometimes difficult to accomplish is during childhood. I can’t emphasize enough how important a healthy diet is for growing children, but some nutritional gaps can still occur because of soil deficiencies, lack of variety in the diet, or environmental factors.
A high quality and varied diet should absolutely be the top priority but there are some supplements that can help fill in any holes in a child’s diet. Just as during pregnancy or nursing, this is a time when one should be very careful about the supplements given and choose only high-quality supplements from verifiable sources after checking with a healthcare practitioner.
On top of making sure that kids are consuming a lot of protein from quality sources, an abundance of green veggies and plenty of healthy fats, I often find that children benefit from:
If they’ve ever been on antibiotics, children can greatly benefit from quality probiotics. Their gut flora is still developing, and supporting gut health during childhood will have much more of an effect than attempting to supplement later in life (though I recommend it then too). We now all take Probiotics which have worked really well for all of us. For kids, I open capsules and dump them into smoothies or bake them into foods since they can survive even at high heat.
It is unfortunate that probiotic supplements are even necessary. Once upon a healthier time, we were able to obtain all the strains of probiotics we needed from the food supply. Vegetables were not irradiated and sterilized so they contained soil based probiotic strains. Foods were often fermented to preserve them, creating a wide variety of native probiotic strains, and we didn’t use and overuse antibacterial soaps and antibiotics, which can alter gut bacteria.
With the constantly emerging evidence about the importance of gut bacteria for all aspects of health, this is one area I don’t skimp on with our family. Though we ferment foods like sauerkraut and water kefir for probiotics, don’t shy away from gardening and interacting with dirt, and don’t over sanitize, I still feel it is important to provide a variety of probiotics on a regular basis to support gut health.
I am hopeful that with all the emerging research, we will again start to understand the importance of living, probiotic-rich foods and bacterial exposure from other sources and address this problem on a wider level as well.
Just as we used to effortlessly get Vitamin D from the environment (the Sun) as we did probiotics from food and soil, modern living has interrupted this normal pattern.
I’m a firm believer that kids should be getting their Vitamin D outside, in the sun, and preferably barefoot. This works great in the summer, but it is more difficult in the winter, or if you live in an area where you don’t have access to direct sun daily. We make a sincere effort to spend time outside gardening or playing each day in the summer to get both probiotics (from soil) and Vitamin D (from sun) but in the colder months, I am more careful to supplement if needed.
Most children’s vitamins contain Vitamin D but the issue of supplementing Vitamin D in children can be controversial. To make sure my kids don’t get too much or too little, we check their levels about once a year in the winter and supplement based on the results. I’d definitely recommend this, especially if you plan to give your children higher doses or supplement on a regular basis.
I always keep Vitamin C on hand, and we’ve avoided many trips to the doctor because of this and Homemade Elderberry Syrup. I add about 1/4 tsp of vitamin C powder to the kids water or smoothie once a day (it is bitter!) to keep their immune systems bolstered… mainly in the winter. During illness, we take Vitamin C powder more often until the illness passes.
Magnesium Spray + Baths
Magnesium has been a miracle mineral for me and it also helps my kids sleep well. Our favorite is this topical magnesium spray which can be sprayed on the whole body for absorption. It doesn’t burn or tingle like some brands do and I’ve also never had trouble with it drying out my skin like some types of magnesium do. I spray this on myself and my kids each night and it helped me avoid morning sickness with this pregnancy.
Another easy way to give kids a magnesium boost is to add about 1/2 cup of epsom salts or magnesium crystals to their bath water so they can absorb it through their skin.
Gelatin is excellent for intestinal health and for hair, skin and nails. We try to eat homemade bone broth regularly, but I also occasionally make the kids healthy jello and gummy vitamins to give them some extra gelatin intake. I drink it in smoothies or in warm water, and also sometimes sneak it into the kids smoothies. A kid-favorite treat at our house is homemade probiotic marshmallows with gelatin. I’ve been able to verify that this brand is from grass-fed, humanely raised cows and doesn’t contain any additives or pesticide residue.
We don’t routinely give our kids a multivitamin, but we have given them this brand before, especially during the winter or if there is a lingering illness just to give us all an extra boost. Learn more about how to optimize your child’s health from Dr. Talya Miron-Shatz on Medical Decision Making & Being an Informed Patient.
Do your kids take supplements? Which ones do they take? Share below!
Discussion (193 Comments)
I’d be very careful giving your kids supplements. Too much of certain vitamins and minerals can cause serious harm to your child. I would ask your Pharmacist what they recommend.
Ask your pharmacist if they know what fermented cod liver is. Chances are they don’t. They are only DR’s of prescription pills. They are not educated on healthy natural vitamins…
My husband is a pharmD and he is very well educated on natural remedies and will most likely recommend it to someone before a script, as will the other two pharmacists he works with, and that is at a big chain store. I think that stereotyping is what causes people to not utilize pharmacists…they are educated in all areas, not just pharmaceuticals, and can be a great FREE resource for you.
We switch off days…..M/W~ Cod liver oil (orange flavored)…..T/F~Acidopholis……S~ Chlrophyll…..W/Sun.~ Brewer’s Yeast Shakes & Vit. C powder. (We took some Vit. D this winter, but we live in So. Ca. and have had a very mild winter.)
I give my kids Catalyn chewable by Standard Process.
I do also; Catalyn Chewable by Standard Process.
My kids take vita c. Even fairly run of the mill chewables seem to make a big difference. I just got in our first order of bio-kult. Excited to see a difference. Gelatin should be here today. My 13 year old has always struggled with his teeth. Just found out he has three new cavities and a capped touth has been bothering him. Dietary changes have been the hardest with him. Pain has brought him fully on board. Says he is willing to do any weird thing I tell him. We are also taking apple cider vinegar twice a day. Any thoughts on that?
U bought bio kilt for your child’s teeth? Is bio kilt a type of multi vit
You have shared some really valuable information here and i especially enjoyed reading of your sneaky ways to get them into your kids. I have to agree with you regarding multivitamins. A good one is hard to find and I am not sure how I feel about them for that reason. Great reading and I look forward to visiting more.
What do you think of Garden of Life probiotics, or how about PB 8??? We seem to always have these two and Biokult on regular basis. I wonder if we’re wasting money buying Garden of Life and the BP 8. So confusing. My kids take fermented (Mint) cod liver oil with some juice, usually it’s the Green smoothie by Odwalla and love it! I give them probiotics, vitamin d and c in milk, and occassional multi by either Garden of Life Raw or one made by Natural Calm, liquid. Some ContenTrace minerals and usually some Calc Phos and Calc Flor cell salts, at least twice daily. I think that’s all 🙂
I really wish I could get my son to eat supplements. If it smells or looks weird no amount of bribery will work. I bought the Green Pasture Butter Oil/Fish blend in Cinnamon tingle … it is hard for me to eat it lol but I know its benefits so I just take a tsp straight. I tried mixing it in his yogurt but that did not work. I may try the mint liquid fish oil … maybe that will work. I also bought the Natural Calm Orange flavored and he won’t take that either. I will just have to use Epsolm salt.
Gelatin in smoothies that is a good idea. All I have is Knox at the moment not Great Lakes (we will be moving soon so I can’t order it) is that ok? For the time being will the Knox suffice?
I use to take chlorophyll years ago so its funny you mention it. It was minty and tasted fine but I don’t remember it having any affect. Maybe I didn’t use it for long enough? That may be something I could get him to drink .. possibly mask the liquid fish oil.
Have you ever heard of Amazing Grass we put that in our Smoothies everyday. My son he is 4yrs begs for a green smoothie everyday he loves them. He also loves natural calm too.
Thanks! Curious..I am going to try Natural Calm for my 3 year old son who battles constipation ( fear of it due to hard stools when an infant ) 1/2 a tsp a day…will that be too much over time? I had cut out all dairy but am going to start introducing raw milk back into his diet. Thoughts? Thanks WM! You rock 🙂
It shouldn’t be too much, and for constipation, you could probably give him more. I don’t have the bottle in front of me, but I’m pretty sure that 1/2 tsp is less than 100 mg, which is well within the safe range, even for kids…Especially if he’ll be getting calcium in the dairy, that won’t be too much at all.
One more thing 🙂 Does it matter what time a day I give him his magnesium drink? Thanks!
Night is best.. helps them sleep better.
Night is best.. helps them sleep better.
Is that 1/2 tsp of the regular natural calm or the kids multi one? Also, can i give some to my 15 month old daughter? She has hard stools. If not can i do milk of mag or epsom salt baths for her? How long can she stay in an epsom salt bath?
My son is having a hard time staying regular. The Dr suggested Miralx but I do not want to use that. I have used Natural Calm for myself and was wondering if 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons a day would be too much for him. 1/2 a teaspoon doesn’t seem to be enough for him.
I would check with Natural Calm to see what their recommended dose for children his age is.
Caution: My son’s dr said the Natural Calm was not the same type of magnesium that is needed to help him relieve constipation. It’s not one that your body can absorb and use she said. Magnesium hydroxide is the kind to help relieve constipation. Switching to the “right” thing has really been helpful. I put about 1/2 teaspoon on his water bottle and it’s enough to keep him regular without making him have the runs.
I know this is an old post BUT I was just given samples of Calm for kids! I am anxious to try it for my son who has bowel issues!
We use the NOW Chewable vitamins (no artificial colors, dairy or wheat but does contain soy derivative), Barlean’s Lemonade Fish oil, and 2000 IU vit D3 most days. They sometimes get gelatin in smoothies, all eat yogurt frequently so I don’t worry too much about probiotics unless there’s a bug going around or something. This is for my 7, 5, 4, and 2 YO children. My 11 YO daughter gets 2-3 capsules of the recommended 4 a day dose of Special Two by NOW (she started menstrual cycles over a year ago) , along with fish oil capsules, the 2000 IU vit D3, and probiotics when I think of it (our current brand requires refrigeration and I’m having trouble remembering to take them). She also eats a lot of yogurt, though.
My 3 year old loves the Kids Kyo dophilus they are chewable tablets. I also give him fish oil gummied from puritans pride he asks me for his “gummy gums”
after dinner : )
I like Natural Vitality Kids Calm Multi vitamin and Mineral supplement. It has very high amounts of calcium, magnesium and C compared with other multis plus extra brain nutrients and a blend of 24 organic fruits and veggies and 30 mg of protein from quinoa. I have been comparing a lot of different brands and once I started with this one I didn’t have to buy my kids extra calcium and only need extra C when they are sick now. I love it!
Does the Natural Vitality contains natural flavors, soy or milk? I really need something like that but not finding one that works my daughter has allergies!
Where do you find the Natural Vitality Kids Calm Multi vitamin and Mineral supplement and how much does it cost?
My 4 yr old son takes Dr Furhman pixie vites. No added sugar, no preservatives, no artificial flavors/colors, no isolated vitamin a or beta carotene. Also no wheat, dairy, gluten or soy. They seem to work great and he loves the taste. Love that they have active folate and B12-methylcobalmin. I take his prenatal as well and love it as I have a MTHFR gene defect and can only assume one passed onto my son, so feel the active forms are best for him too.
Magnesium stearate is not that good?