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IMPORTANT: Top 3 Vitamins Your Child Needs and Why

IMPORTANT: Top 3 Vitamins Your Child Needs and Why

Experts determine the top three supplements your kiddo really needs to ensure that they stay healthy all the time.

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The term “omega-3” refers to a group of three healthy fats—ALA, EPA and DHA. The fats are considered essential, especially for young children. But because our bodies don’t produce omega-3s naturally, we need to get them from our diet.

The number one supplement [kids need] is fish oil.

The young child’s brain is rapidly developing and requires a constant supply of omega-3 fatty acids for optimal development. The omega-3 fatty acids will also improve attention focus and help soothe behavior issues.”

2. Multivitamin

After Omega-3s, a broad-range multivitamin/multimineral is the next line of defense for kids who are likely not getting enough nutrients from their diets. A well-designed multivitamin and mineral that supplies all the essential nutrients in a range of 100 to 300 percent of the daily value will cover the needs for most children.

Somer recommends parents choose a multi that contains vitamins A, D, and K, all of the B vitamins (vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin and folic acid), as well as the trace minerals (chromium, copper, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc). It’s also important to ensure that the levels of each nutrient in the multi are balanced. Look for even levels of daily requirements of the different nutrients, not one that supplies 2 percent of one nutrient, 50 percent of another and 600 percent of another.

3. Probiotic

Each time your child is prescribed a round of antibiotics to battle an ear infection or a bout of strep throat, millions of good bacteria are killed in the intestines, right along with the bad bacteria that are causing the illness. And since around 80 percent of our immune system is located in our gut, low levels of those good bacteria can lead to a host of issues, including allergies, eczema and general tummy troubles.

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Probiotics are the good bacteria; they are essential for a healthy gastrointestinal system.. 5-10 billion CFUs per day for children and teens and around 4 billion per day for infants and babies is recommended. If a particular condition is being treated—like diarrhea, for instance—the daily dosage may be increased.

Parents may start supplementing with probiotics early, especially if their child was delivered via cesarean section. Our first dose of good bacteria typically comes during birth as we pass through the birth canal. We are inoculated with a large amount of helpful bacteria that begins the adequate functioning of our gastrointestinal system as well as our immune system. Kids who are born via C-section do not get this first dose, so supplementing them beginning at a young age is even more important.

And one more point on probiotics: they typically need to be refrigerated to maintain their effectiveness.

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