Spotlight on Pediatric Health
As a parent, I struggle to make sure my kids are healthy, just like all the other parents out there. The benefit of being a Naturopathic Doctor AND a mom, is that I know a lot about pediatric health. While you would think this is a good thing, my kids often hate it. We never eat cereal, I have never packed a Lunchable or Crustable for lunch, and most of our treats are homemade with Monk Fruit or Coconut Sugar. All in all, they hate this about me. But, while they are still sitting eating from my kitchen, I am going to serve them the healthiest food possible. They do pretty well, and now know the fundamentals of a healthy diet, and miss it when they travel away from home.
However, my kids are normal kids and plenty of junk foods sneak into their bodies, regardless of me trying desperately to control their diets. So, even as much as I focus on feeding my family whole, nutrient dense foods (even the occasional organ meats!), we are not perfect. I have always given my kids dietary supplements because I know that not all of their needs are met through the diet.
Supplements that can help
Below are some of the top-recommended supplements for children. In addition to these, consider giving your child a multivitamin and mineral supplement providing a broad-spectrum of nutrients to support general health. Supplements also come in a variety of forms, some of which children typically prefer, including powder, chewable tablets, gummies, or liquid. While I understand it is good to get these nutrients into their little bodies, I still prefer the supplements with the least amount of sugar as possible.
Below is some useful information about top recommended supplements for pediatric health, including popular products from my dispensary.
Magnesium is an abundant mineral used in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. It is involved in energy production, muscle contraction, blood glucose control, nerve function, and protein synthesis. Magnesium supplementation has been shown to improve hyperactivity and behavioral symptoms in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Further, magnesium may help with insomnia by improving sleep efficiency, sleep time, and sleep onset latency. Dietary sources of magnesium include nuts and seeds (e.g., almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds), cocoa, spinach, black beans, and avocado.
The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) of magnesium by age group are:
Birth to 6 months: 30 mg
7–12 months: 75 mg
1–3 years: 80 mg
4–8 years: 130 mg
9–13 years: 240 mg
Boys 14–18 years: 410 mg
Girls 14–18 years: 360 mg
Top magnesium supplements on Fullscript:
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). While the body is able to synthesize these fatty acids from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the conversion is limited, which makes dietary intake or supplementation of preformed EPA and DHA important. Clinical research suggests that EPA and DHA supplementation may improve attention, behavior, and literacy in children. High amounts of EPA and DHA are found in cod liver oil and fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies.
Top pediatric Omega-3 fatty acid supplements on Fullscript:
Did you know that an infant’s first exposure to microorganisms occurs at birth? The microbial population of the gastrointestinal tract, known as the gut microbiota, includes bacteriophages, viruses, fungi, and bacteria. The gut microbiota assists in absorbing nutrients, modulating the immune system, defending the body against pathogens, and supporting gut health. Probiotics can be obtained from fermented foods or dietary supplements. Examples of probiotic-rich fermented foods include yogurt, fermented vegetables (e.g. kimchi, sauerkraut, unpasteurized pickles), and fermented soy (e.g. tempeh, miso). Supplementation with probiotics in children has been shown to decrease body mass index in obese children and improve symptoms of atopic dermatitis, diarrhea, and intestinal colic.
Top pediatric probiotic supplements on Fullscript:
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is well known for its antioxidant actions. It assists in iron absorption, facilitates the conversion of cholesterol to bile salts, and is used as a co-factor in synthesizing amino acids and certain hormones. Vitamin C-rich foods include peppers, citrus fruit, strawberries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and tomatoes. Supplementation of Vitamin C has been shown to help relieve cold symptoms and reduce the duration of colds in children.
The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) of vitamin C by age group are:
Birth to 6 months: 40 mg
7-12 months: 50 mg
1-3 years: 15 mg
4-8 years: 25 mg
9-13 years: 45 mg
Boys 14-18 years: 75 mg
Girls 14-18 years: 65 m
Top collagen supplements on Fullscript:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin synthesized in the skin from exposure to sunlight. Research suggests that approximately 40% of children have sub-optimal levels of vitamin D. Adequate vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium and phosphorus in the intestinal tract and a deficiency of this vitamin can result in rickets and growth retardation in children. Dietary sources include oily fish, such as salmon, herring, and mackerel, and fortified foods, such as milk, juices, cheeses, and yogurt. Vitamin D supplementation may be required if needs are not met from sun exposure and dietary intake.
The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) of vitamin D by age group are:
Birth to 12 months 400 IU
Children 1-13 years 600 IU
Teens 14-18 years 600 I
Top pediatric vitamin D supplements on Fullscript:
I hope you found this informative and helpful, and am wishing you a very happy and healthy Pediatric Health Month!