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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Do children need vitamin supplements?

It has been estimated that as many as three in ten Americans take at least one type of vitamin supplement. With this widespread interest in the use of vitamin supplements to improve health and brain development in children, it is no wonder that there is also a lot of interest in the best vitamin supplements for children.

The question of "Do children need vitamin supplements" has been a hard one to answer. As with adults, studies of the safety and effectiveness of vitamin supplements have been somewhat inconclusive. While one study may show a clear benefit among those taking a particular kind of vitamin supplement, another study may show no benefit. With all this contradictory evidence, it is often difficult to find out what really works and what type of vitamin supplement your child may really need.

Fallacies about vitamin supplements

There are certainly some fallacies about vitamin supplements out there. One of the biggest fallacies about vitamin supplements is that they are a cure all for every condition and every disease. There is no one vitamin pill, nutritional supplement or combination of vitamin supplements that will protect the consumer against every disease and provide optimum health. Another big fallacy about vitamin supplements is that they can make up for a poor diet. Nothing could be further from the truth. Proper nutrition, both for young people and adults, always has been and always will be the cornerstone of health and well being. Vitamin supplements may be able to provide a much needed boost to health, but they are not intended to be, and should not be used as, a replacement for a well rounded diet.

Pros and cons for vitamin supplements

There are many pros and cons for vitamin supplements, both for children and for adults. One of the biggest concerns is knowing what is really in the vitamin supplement you are taking. The quality and quantity of the ingredients contained in vitamin supplements can vary widely between brands and manufacturers, so finding a top quality brand, made with only the best, quality tested ingredients, should be a big part of your vitamin supplement shopping.

Ensuring the safety and effectiveness is important anytime you are considering vitamin supplements as well. Controlled studies of the same vitamin supplement have often yielded seemingly contradictory results, so it is important to read up often on the supplements you are taking. Always take stock of any new information you find, and always be sure to inform your doctor about any vitamins or nutritional supplements you are taking.

What is the best vitamin supplements for children?

These guidelines are even more important when discussing nutritional supplements for children. Children have different metabolisms and different nutritional requirements than adults, and the vitamin supplements that are needed by adults may not be necessary for children. Again, always discuss nutritional supplements or vitamin needs with your pediatrician. He or she can help you decide what type of vitamin supplement is best for your child. As we said earlier, the question of do children need vitamin supplements is still very much up in the air, and your pediatrician will have access to the most complete information on this still controversial subject.


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