Wondering whether or not your child needs supplements? What should you look for in a vitamin or probiotic and what should you be wary of? We have all the answers to your questions on children’s supplements
It’s often been said that if you eat a varied balanced diet and have no deficiencies or health conditions, you may not need supplements like vitamins and probiotics to keep you in tip top health. But what if your little one is a super picky eater or if they have allergies and can’t eat certain food groups? Knowing what supplements to look for and how to evaluate a good vitamin or probiotic is key. We asked Consultant Paediatric Dietitian, Kathy Lowes-Switzer of Kids Nutrition Singapore for the low down on supplements from what vitamins and probiotics are best, to who needs them and what to be careful of when buying a supplement.
Who might need to take vitamin supplements?
Anyone struggling to meet their nutritional requirements from food alone. People with higher requirements (such as women wanting to get pregnant, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, those underlying chronic illness) may need supplements. Those who have excluded food groups (some vegetarians, vegans, those with food allergies or intolerances as well as picky or selective eaters or those with disordered eating) may also benefit from supplements.
What should you look for in a vitamin?
– Always buy supplements from a reputable source and know the brand you are buying.
– Check there is an expiry date, batch number, and manufacturer on the supplement label.
– Check that the supplement ingredient list doesn’t have a long list of additives, fillers, and preservatives.
– Check the dose and storage recommendation and always stick to the dose recommended for age.
Anything to be careful of?
Fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, D, E and K and minerals such as iron are stored in the body and too much of these can be harmful. Check against the DRV percentage and don’t go over 100%, as you will also be getting some from your diet and the sun too. If you are pregnant, avoid fish liver oil as it contains vitamin A; large amounts can be harmful to babies. Children should avoid effervescent (fizzy) vitamin supplements as they contain approximately a gram of salt per tablet.
What should you look for in a probiotic?
Probiotics are a huge area of interest at the moment, but there is no evidence to suggest these supplements will be of benefit to healthy people. For probiotics to be useful you need to take the right strain that you need in the correct dose* >10 million Colony Forming Units or CFUs.
Tip: Read supplement storage guidelines carefully, as probiotics won’t survive at high temperatures or in sunlight, and if not stored correctly, you will not receive the effective supplement dose.
How do you choose the correct strain of probiotic?
If you want to target a particular problem, talk to your doctor or dietitian about the strain (and dose) that is right for you and your specific symptoms. A few examples of conditions where probiotics may be of benefit, along with the strain that has been found to have benefit, include:
– Treatment of general symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) treat with specific strain Lactobacillus Plantarum
– Prevention of antibiotics associated diarrhoea treat with strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG or Saccharomyces boulardii
– Treatment of symptoms in infantile colic trear with strain L reuteri.
Remember there are a lot of foods out there which contain probiotics, such as live yoghurts, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha. Eating a balanced diet is important for probiotics to work. Probiotics are good bacteria and need prebiotics from your fibre (wholegrains, fruits, vegetables and legumes), to survive!
Vitamin brand: Zoo-Vite
Where to buy it: Essentials Pharmacy, Guardian, Watsons, Nishino, Welcia BHG, Fairprice online, Lazada, Shopee and online.
Zoo-Vite children’s supplements come in great tasting natural fruit flavours, with no artificial preservatives, sweeteners or colours. These children’s supplements are free from gluten, gelatin, yeast, peanuts, tree nuts and starch plus they are 100% vegan and halal certified. The Zoo-Vite range covers essential nutrients for healthy growth and development of children. The vitamins come in great tasting fruity flavoured jelly sticks and gummies as well as in liquid form for even the fussiest eaters. Picky eaters can be picky about supplements too – that’s why Zoo-Vite has different forms of supplements to suit your kid. Jelly Sticks ($39.90) include Zoo-Vite Calcium Jelly Sticks, Zoo-Vite DHA Jelly Sticks, Zoo-Vite Immune Jelly Sticks, Zoo-Vite Vitamin C Jelly Sticks. Chewable Gummies ($29.90) include Zoo-Vite Germ Buster Elderberry Gummies and Zoo-Vite Multivitamins Safari Buddies Gummies while the single-serve liquid sachets ($39.90) for Zoo-Vite Flu Resist for Kids are easy to carry and take with no spoons or measuring syringes needed.
Use the promo code SASSYMAMA20 and get 20% off regular price supplements from Oct 1-Nov 30, 2020 here.
Read more about Zoo-Vite to find out which supplement is best for your child here.
Probiotics brand: Youguth Probiotics
Where to buy it: Watsons, Unity, Robinsons, OG, Metro, Lazada, Shopee & Online
Youguth is a probiotic health supplement that contains a patented formula that is specially designed to improve your immune and digestive health. Backed by 50 years of research excellence, Youguth boasts a dose of 100 billion colony forming units (CFUs). The Youguth Child Strength Up probiotic supplement supports a healthy digestive system and gut by introducing healthy bacteria to the intestine. Youguth probiotics restore and maintain healthy intestinal flora, thus improving your child’s digestive system. These probiotics are especially useful to strengthen the immune system and can be taken post antibiotics to increase the amount of good bacteria in the gut. Formulated with the added ingredients of colostrum and zinc to enhance immunity, Child Strength Up also boosts your child’s natural defenses to keep infections at bay. Youguth Child Strength Up is recommended for children aged one and above and comes in an easy-to-take milk-flavoured powder stick that little ones will love.
Shop at Youguth.com.sg and enjoy 20% off with the promo code: SASSY20OFF. From now till 31 Oct 2020, promotion is not applicable to the family bundle.
Read more about how Youguth probiotics can help build immunity and restore the natural balance of bacteria in the gut here.
Other over the counter supplements:
Looking for more supplement brands for your needs? Try Thorne, Nature made, Vitabiotics, Centrum, Nordic naturals, Elevit, Smarty pants, and Natures way.
Where else to buy supplements: Watsons, Guardian, Amazon.sg, Robinsons Chemist, iherb.com and Supernature
Lead image: Getty Images, Image#2 Pexels