We all want the best for our kids and looking after their health is our top priority. Even though we try and get them to eat as much fruit and vegetables as we can, the reality is statistically the majority of children in the UK are not reaching the governments daily target of ‘5 fruit and veg a day’. Even with children who do eat their 5 a day nutrient deficiencies are still common. Agricultural methods today mean that our soil is depleted of nutrients and we don’t get anywhere near the levels of nutrients from our foods that our grandparents did.
Additionally sugar is an anti-nutrient, draining the body of beneficial nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and selenium. So even with a balanced, the majority of children can benefit for an additional boost in the form of a multi vitamin and mineral.
With so many childrens vitamins on the market today with brightly coloured labels, shaped in your childs favourite cartoon character and loud marketing claims it is very difficult as a consumer to know which one to choose.
While researching the market, we came across all sorts of formulations. Some were frankly shocking! We came across products that contained more sugar, sweeteners and colours than actual vitamins and minerals! We also found that a large number of childrens multis contained only a small number vitamins and no minerals. A leading brand, recommended by many Doctors and health visitors contains: Vitamin A, D, E, C, B1, B3, B5, B6. With a picture of a bright eyed bouncing little boy it claims to contain ‘100% Vitamin D RDA’. The family of B Vitamins all work together for energy production. Why does this product contain only B1, 3, 5 and 6? Why not B2 and B12? Where are all the minerals that are so essential to a childs health? Magnesium that is involved in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body? Iron which is a known common deficiency in children?
When looking for a multi for your child here are some key things to take into consideration;
- Make sure it contains both vitamins and minerals, not just vitamins.
- Is sugar-free. Although a chewable multi does need to be sweet for children excess sugar is an anti-nutrient and should be reduced. Look for alternatives such as stevia or xylitol as well as natural flavours
- Vitamins and minerals work together synergistically so a good multi should contain a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals at good levels.