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My wife and I have given our five-year-old children's vitamins on-and-off since she was two. I don't believe the vitamins harm my daughter's health, but at the same time I wonder if the vitamins are just another version of candy, and I am skeptical of vitamin's health claims. I notice that all the 'gummi' vitamins are made with corn syrup and food coloring.

I realize the manufacturers are trying to make the vitamins appealing, but how much benefit is my daughter getting?

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Which vitamins are you skeptical of? Most are necessary to make our bodies work, though you can certainly over-do some of them. –  DA01 Jan 11 '12 at 19:06
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4 Answers 4

My personal conclusion from own research (I mean googling, discussions, own experiences etc. not a strictly scientific approach :-) is that

  • it is preferable to take vitamins, minerals etc. from normal food, as part of a balanced diet
  • needs and availability are different in winter than in summer, so it may make sense to use some supplements during wintertime, however we don't use supplements during the summer
  • most critical may be vitamin D and Omega 3, this is what we give to our children during winter, when low exposure to sunlight means the body has less chance of producing the necessary amount of vitamin D. Also, in our country very little fish is eaten on average, so we feel it makes sense to supplement Omega acids.

Vitamins from artifical supplements probably aren't digested by our body nearly as well as in their natural environment, so even if I take 500mg of vitamin C in a pill, it may be that less of it is actually used by my body than of the 50mg I get from fruits and vegetables. Moreover, the latter also contain hundreds of other, as yet unknown or un-examined compounds, which may have a positive health effect on their own, but what may be even more important is their synergistic effect. Food science only focuses on singular compounds, isolated from the whole, one at a time, and has much less knowledge about how they actually work together in their natural environment. Not to mention it is much less exciting - and even less profitable - to advertise raw broccoli or apples rather than "our Super Immune Boosting Mega Vitamin Supplement" including lots of fancy and deeply scientific(ally sounding) names such as Flavonoids, Carotenoids, Antioxidants etc. ;-)

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Some regions of the world are also deficient in particular minerals eg selenium in New Zealand. Occasional brazil nuts are a simple fix for that problem though –  Highly Irregular Jan 15 '12 at 3:07
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I would be wary of vitamins because of what it is teaching the child about medicine. We were very careful to show our kids their names on their medicines when they needed it and talk about who can give them medicine (never too early to teach about drugs). Therefore I would definitely worry if vitamins (medicine) would be associated with candy.

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My wife is giving our 2yo son some homeopathic stuff (I consider that harmless but wrong) but I do see that he cannot tell the difference between that and real medicine. I fear it might cause him to ingest real medicine at some point when we're not looking, because he hasn't understood that it might be dangerous. Older kids can understand this, but parents need to teach it! –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Jan 11 '12 at 15:47
    
They definitely should be treated as medicine...not candy. An easy way around that is to not get the candy-like vitamins. –  DA01 Jan 11 '12 at 19:08
    
This is why I really like the medicines which taste terrible - my kids know that they are only to help make them better when ill, and they wouldn't go near them otherwise. Vitamins are more of a challenge, as manufacturers deliberately make them taste nice. –  Rory Alsop Jan 12 '12 at 10:57
    
As long as one believes that massively diluted medicine (ie some types of homeopathic medicine) will work, at least there is the benefit of the placebo effect... –  Highly Irregular Jan 15 '12 at 3:03
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I realize the manufacturers are trying to make the vitamins appealing, but how much benefit is my daughter getting?

I believe this is the core of the conversation.

1) I'm not a fan of artificially medicating. Unless your kids Dr has said "you should give li'l Marceline a vitamin" then it stands to reason that you're not really helping, and you could be hurting (overdoing it).

2) I'm not a fan of artificial foods. High Fructose Corn Syrup, or Corn Sugar as it's now called, and food colorings can be detrimental . . . especially since it's a daily dose to a human body system that is still trying to figure out how the hell it's supposed to work.

3) About the quote... and I'm telling myself that I'm not going to rant on it. I do not believe than juvenile multivitamins are anything more than a money maker for the Health Industrial Complex. There may be some slight benefits to actually taking them, as pointed out by studies performed by organizations with unknown or questionable relationships.

Bottom line: If you take the entire story into account (hfcs, food coloring, potential for od, actual help, etc) I doubt very seriously that the result is a tangible net positive.

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Exactly how should we make certain we receive a sufficient amount of vitamin D? Sunlight is certainly a great source of vitamin D. While you are exposed to sunshine, your entire body generally creates vitamin D. When you are exposed to sunlight, be sure to make use of a decent sun screen lotion in order to avoid burns. Get just as much sun exposure as you can. Why? Your body generally generates vitamin D when we're exposed to the sun's rays. In case you have very little exposure to the sunshine, whether it's as you do the job within the house or even reside somewhere which does not obtain a good deal of sun's rays, you should ensure to consume healthy foods which have been great sources of vitamin D. It is usually in lots of our food items. A number of the food items milk products, natural yogurt, fortified cereal, and also loaf of bread usually are full of vitamin D. Furthermore, it comes by natural means in trout, tuna fish, as well as eggs.

If you fail to receive a sufficient quantity of vitamin D as a result of modest exposure to the sun or not having ample food items full of vitamin D inside them, you could just take a multi-vitamin. The following links may provide helpful information and resources. Multi-vitamins are generally a great way of acquiring a sufficient quantity of vitamins and minerals we might be short of the eating plan. What are the results if you do not receive a sufficient quantity of vitamin D in your eating plan? You'll find 3 well-known bone tissue softening condition which can take place mainly because of not receiving an adequate amount of vitamin D: Rickets, Osteomalacia, and also Osteoporosis.

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