Caution with children’s multivitamins

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Caution with children’s multivitamins

Multivitamins or multiminerals (sometimes called “multis”) are the most popular supplements among the general population in America. There’s no standard formula for multis, so ingredients will vary dramatically from one brand to another. And, it’s impossible to make a one-size-fits-all multi anyway because nutritional needs depend on age, gender, health status, and several other factors. However, my friends at ConsumerLab.com released a recent reminder to parents who give their kids multis.

The experts at ConsumerLab.com write:

Be aware that many children’s multivitamins provide amounts of vitamins and minerals that are too high and/or too low.

A review of 288 multivitamin/multimineral supplements for children (ages 1 to <4 years) conducted by the U.S. government’s Office of Dietary Supplements found that Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for young children were exceeded for folic acid in 49%, for vitamin A in 17%, and for zinc in 14% of products reviewed.

Forty-four percent provided just half or less of the Daily Value of vitamin D for children ages 1 to <4.

Nearly all reviewed products that contained calcium and/or potassium provided 25% or less than the DV for these nutrients — although supplements should not be expected to provide much more for these macronutrients, which should largely be obtained from the diet (Dwyer, J Acad Nutr Diet 2021).

A review of 52 pediatric multivitamins purchased from popular U.S. pharmacy chains similarly concluded that many exceeded the UL for vitamin A, folic acid, and zinc, as well as niacin and copper (Samuel, Nutr Health 2022).

ConsumerLab’s Top Pick: Flintstones Complete (chewable tablets) (12 cents per chewable tablet; ½ to 1 per day, based on age).

Each tablet provides 600 IU of vitamin D (the RDA for kids ages 1 and older), 18 mg of iron (the RDA for kids ages 4 and older).

It provides more vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate (from folic acid) than the RDAs but does not exceed upper limits.

Flintstones has just 100 mg of calcium and no magnesium, so it’s important that those be obtained through the diet or, if necessary, as a separate supplement.

Chewable tablets like Flintstones are, in our opinion, the best multivitamin formulation for kids because they are tasty but, unlike gummies, can include iron and other minerals like zinc, and copper. You won’t find these in gummies, which is a real drawback since kids need more iron than adults.

What about your teens? ConsumerLab.com experts say:

Keep in mind that the needs of teens generally fall between those of adults and children, although teenage girls need much more iron than younger girls, and teenage boys need a bit more iron than men and children.

So, for teenage boys, an appropriate multi could be one of the Approved General (Adult) multis that are not high-dose but include iron, such as Kirkland Signature (Costco) Daily Multi.

For teenage girls, one of the multis listed above under “Women’s” would be fine, such as Bayer One A Day Women’s Formula as these not only contain a significant amount of iron, but more calcium per day than you’ll get from Flintstones — at a time when many young girls don’t get enough calcium.

ConsumerLab.com is a subscription site, but if you or your family take any natural medicines (herbs, vitamins, or supplements) you’re likely to save far more than the cost of the subscription. I’ve been a very happy subscriber for over two decades.


© Copyright WLL, INC. 2022. This blog provides healthcare tips and advice that you can trust about a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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