Let's Learn About ... Giving Your Kids Vitamins
Dr. Diane is back with 7 quick facts parents should know
"What is the best vitamin my kid can take?"
That's one of the most common questions I get while doing my AMAs on our Willow Park Pediatrics Facebook page.
The answer I give, most of the time, is - nothing.
Here's a few points about vitamins. Short and simple.
- If your kiddo eats a well-rounded, healthy diet, they don't need a daily vitamin. This means meats, milk, veggies, fruits, and whole grains daily.
- If your kiddo has a "bad day" - a.k.a. a chicken-nugget, mac-and-cheese kinda day, offer a simple chewable children's multivitamin that day.
- Limit your child's milk intake to 20-24 ounces or less per day. While we love the calcium and Vitamin D in milk, it hinders the absorption of other vitamins, like iron, and fills kids up so they don't eat the other foods they are supposed to eat.
- Large doses of certain vitamins can actually be harmful. Be careful of natural websites/naturopaths who claim "megadoses" of vitamins can cure ailments. Be especially careful with kids, as there is lacking research about this and some bad side effects can happen.
- If your child is a vegan or a vegetarian, or allergic to milk, they need a daily vitamin. Talk to your pediatrician about this.
- Certain medical conditions require vitamin supplementation. Think food allergies, GI tract disorders like celiac and Crohn's, and endocrinologic (hormone) problems. Talk to your doc.
- Vitamins can have SIDE EFFECTS! Yes! Vitamins! For example, B vitamins are associated with night terrors and nightmares. Other vitamins can cause nausea, dizziness, vomiting, headaches. They're similar to medications, folks - yet not as strictly regulated by the FDA - and you have to be careful with them.
Cook Children's published a good article about vitamins a few years ago. Check it out!
About the Author
Dr. Diane Arnaout joined the Cook Children's Willow Park practice in 2011. Dr. Arnaout was born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She served as a leader on the medical education committees during her internship and residency in pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in the Texas Medical Center at Houston, Texas.