Vitamin supplements in children are not necessary, except in specific cases in which the doctor recommends giving them an extra dose of a vitamin.
Parents are always concerned about their children’s health and sometimes that protective instinct leads them to give them food supplements. But be careful, because they are not always necessary. This is the case of vitamin supplements in children. Check out more interesting articles on our site.
While it is true that vitamins are essential for the proper development of vital functions, pediatricians and medical associations agree that these vitamins must be obtained directly from food.
As there is no food that has all the vitamins, it is necessary to follow a healthy and varied diet, which includes foods from the four classic groups on a daily basis. Below, you can see a brief list of the foods that provide the different vitamins.
- Vitamin D : It is obtained mainly from the sun. Some foods, such as eggs, fish, liver or milk contain it in small amounts.
- Vitamin C : It is mainly contained in citrus fruits (orange, lemon, grapefruit, tangerine), kiwi or vegetables.
- Vitamin B6 ( folic acid ) : Legumes, citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables provide the recommended daily amounts.
- Vitamin B12 : You will find it in fish, dairy products, red meat, eggs and pork.
- Vitamin A (beta-carotene) : Again you get it from dairy, fish, green leafy vegetables, carrots, pumpkin, or vegetable oils.
- Vitamin E : Eggs, oil, whole grains and green leafy vegetables are the main sources of this vitamin.
VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS IN CHILDREN ONLY WITH MEDICAL PRESCRIPTION
Therefore, except in specific cases, vitamin supplements in children are not necessary. Moreover, they are not recommended. Why? Well, because the body only needs a small amount of vitamins that are supplied if a balanced diet is followed . And if consumed in excess, they can have side effects.
Special care must be taken with fat-soluble vitamins, which are those that dissolve in fat. As they are not eliminated in the urine, they can accumulate in the tissues and become toxic. Fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, K and F. Vitamin A and D intoxications are the most common.
In the case of water-soluble vitamins, the most normal thing is that if there is an excessive consumption they are eliminated through the urine. Here we find vitamins B and C. That is why nothing should happen to give children a multivitamin complex if the dose is adequate.
There are also diseases related to vitamin deficiency, but they are not frequent in developed countries. In Spain, cases of rickets (due to lack of vitamin D), scurvy (lack of vitamin C) or pellagra (lack of vitamin B1) are rare.
SITUATIONS IN WHICH VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS IN CHILDREN ARE NECESSARY
That said, it is important to clarify that there are cases in which it is necessary to resort to vitamin supplements in children. We are talking, for example, about minors who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet or children who suffer from a disease that prevents them from absorbing nutrients properly.
You also have to be careful with babies less than a year old. The Spanish Association of Pediatrics recommends giving them a vitamin D3 supplement until they drink a daily liter of formula milk enriched with vitamin D. Premature children need this supplement during the first 12 months.
For infants, vitamin D may be necessary because breast milk does not contain much of it. Yes, it is rich in vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin B will depend on the mother’s diet. If she is a vegetarian, there may be a deficiency of vitamins B6 and B12. But it is up to the doctor to assess the situation and make a decision about whether to give the little one any supplements.