Many of today's adolescents and teens fall short on important nutrients because of fast food availability, vending machine accessibility, low nutrient quality in soil, and more. Some call them the "overfed, undernourished generation." For children not getting the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals through diet alone, supplementation may be a great option for supporting bone, brain, and immune health.
Children should start with a high-quality multivitamin, which promotes healthy growth and development, and optimal wellness. Kids' multivitamins are available in chewables and gummies, and are generally suitable for children who are 4 years of age and older.
To further support long-term bone and cardiovascular system health, children should incorporate vitamins D3 and K2 into their daily routine. Vitamin D3 is important for calcium transport and absorption, and vitamin K2 as MK-7 is critical for the formation of a strong bone matrix.
Vitamin D3 also supports teeth, bone, and muscle health, and promotes immune, heart, and mood health. Vitamin D3 is available in many forms, including soft gels, unflavored liquid drops, and tasty gummies.
Vitamin K2 as MK-7 activates proteins such as osteocalcin and Matrix GLA Protein (MGP), which play an important role in binding calcium to the bone matrix. Vitamin K2 is available in soft gels and unflavored liquid drops, which can be placed in food or a drink.
Iron is an essential minerals and an important component of hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our body. Iron supplements are best taken on an empty stomach for maximum absorption first thing in the morning. Note that the calcium in dairy can interfere with its absorption, while vitamin C can enhance it. A flavorful kid's chewable iron supplement is a convenient way for children to get the iron they need to support blood health, energy utilization, and immune function.
To keep our children's immune systems functioning optimally, especially at the start of the school year when they're in contact with many other individuals, I recommend vitamin C, zinc, and probiotics.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that supports immune health and enhances iron absorption. Chewable vitamin C tablets and gummies are available, and should be taken in forms that are gentle on the stomach.
Zinc also supports immune health. It's a mineral that has antioxidant components and can be taken in well-absorbed forms, like citrus flavored lozenges.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that line our digestive tract, promote immune health, and support our body's ability to absorb nutrients. They are available in capsules and powders.
Last, but just as important, are omega-3s, which promote brain development, mood health, vision health, and immune function. Like fish oil, cod liver oil provides the beneficial omega-3s EPA and DHA but with vitamins A and D3, which provide even more immune support. Fish oil and cod liver oil can be found in flavored chewable soft gels and delicious liquids. A great way to help your children get their omega-3s is to pour it over some of their favorite foods, like popcorn, peanut butter and jelly, hummus, yogurt, or smoothies.
These supplements will help your children get started on the right foot for the upcoming school year by helping them maintain their bone, brain, and immune health.