Kids aren’t a big part of my practice. However, I treat you parents and grandparents. I thought it would be helpful to give a little guidance for children’s supplementation and general health. Kids, after all, are the future generations and we want to set them up for the best possible health.
Why would you give your child supplements?
Prevention. Supplements can help keep your child healthy and happy. They can support their immune system, growth, brain development, and more.
It’s recognized that the environment and nutritional status from birth to late adolescence has a profound and lifelong impact on both the health of the individual and their susceptibility to chronic disease throughout adult and later life.
IN FACT… the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that over 50% of the risk of developing chronic disease later in life stems from accumulation of influences experience during childhood. That is a significant risk.
It only makes sense to ensure the best possible health for your child so that they develop and live a healthy prosperous life as an adult. You have this unique opportunity to influence their future health.
There are a handful of supplements that I always recommend for kids. Some can be started with infants while others are started a little older. Here’s some guidelines to help you.
The Neonate – 0-6 months
I always recommend breast feeding as the primary source of nutrition so making sure mom is on a good multi-vitamin, a calcium and magnesium supplement, DHA, and probiotics will make sure the baby is getting these nutrients. Baby can also be given probiotics (neonate formula), vitamin D, and DHA if needing to supplement. This is also applicable for formula fed babies.
Mom’s daily supplementation: (these are minimal levels)
- Folic acid – 800 mcg
- Vitamin B12 – 50 mcg
- Vitamin C – 500 mg
- Vitamin E – 50 mg
- Vitamin D – 200 IU
- Iron – 15 mg
- Calcium – 1300 mg
- Magnesium – 300 mg
- DHA – minimum 1000mg
- Probiotics – minimum 8 billion
Breastfed Infant daily supplements:
- Neonate probiotic – minimum 3 billion
- Vitamin D – 400 IU
- DHA – 200 mg (unless breast milk supply of DHA is adequate)
Formula fed infant daily supplements:
- Vitamin and mineral is generally sufficient
- Do supplement with the above levels of vitamin D, DHA and probiotics
The Infant – 6-36 months
Infants are in a major growth phase and require a lot of energy during this time. Their digestive capacity is also very high and the gut microbiome are growing and getting established. Breast feeding is stopped at some point during this age so supplementing becomes more important for the infant. Once breast feeding is stopped it is more important to provide a multivitamin due to the higher demand. Iron, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D are especially important.
Here are the daily values of critical nutrients:
- Vitamin C – 100 mg (1-3 years)
- Vitamin E – 20 mg (1-3 years)
- Vitamin D – 1000 IU
- Iron – 10-15 mg
- Calcium – 600 mg
- Magnesium – 65 mg
- Fish Oil – 300 mg DHA/ EPA with a minimum 3:1 ratio
- Probiotics – minimum of 4 billion bacteria
Childhood & Adolescence – 3-18 years
Child growth from 3-12 years old is fairly constant but when they hit adolescence there are growth spurts. In addition the body is changing and hormones are kicking in. Because the bones are increasing significantly there is a higher need for minerals. Teens don’t tend to get sufficient minerals so supplementation is important. Iron is needed specifically for girls that have started menstruating as then don’t tend to get enough through diet. Providing a high quality multivitamin and mineral supplement is the easiest way to ensure adequate levels.
Here is what you want to look for for daily supplementation:
- Vitamin C – 180 mg (3-7 years) – 500 mg (8-18 years)
- Vitamin E – 30 mg (3-7 years) – 50 mg (8-18 years)
- Vitamin D – 1000 IU (3-7 years) – 2000 mg (8-18 years)
- Folic Acid – 200 mcg (3-7 years) – 400-600 mcg (8-18 years)
- Iron – 10mg (3-7 years) – 15-25 mg (girls 8-18 years)
- Calcium – 600 mg (3-7 years) – 1000 – 1300 mg (girls 8-18 years)
- Magnesium – 80-130 mg (3-7 years) – 130-410 mg (8-18 years)
- EPA/DHA – 500 mg (3-7 years) – 1000 mg (8-18 years)
- Probiotics – 4 billion (3-7 years) – 8 billion (8-18 years)
- Soluble Fibre (prebiotic) – 3g (3-7 years) – 5 g (8-18 years)
Giving your child these nutrients is one of the best gifts you can give them. Health is so important and something that when started early on will help create habits that can last a lifetime.
Developing your child’s immune system
Children are exposed to all kinds of things in daycare, school, the yard, friends, pets, and all over. It’s normal for them to get sick, it’s their immune system developing and building up the antibodies. Exposing your child to as many things as possible when they are growing and forming is a key strategy. It decreases the possibility of developing chronic health conditions as an adult and also builds a more robust immune system.
What if your child gets sick?
Great! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and when treated right it can be very healthy. There are several options available but some of my favorite tools to use are homeopathics. Children respond so well to these formulas and they stimulate the body to heal. If your child gets sick there are guides to help you or you can come into the office where I can help. I do recommend avoiding any fever suppressing medications such as Tylenol. Having a fever is the body’s way of killing bugs. If the fever gets too high to your liking put them in a tepid bath to bring the fever down. This allows the body to do what it is meant to do. There are other tools and tricks so if you need support just reach out.
Your child deserves a healthy life – with some basic supplementation you can make a difference!