As you know, I believe that a balanced, healthy diet and lifestyle can help your child to grow and thrive. While most nutrients should be obtained from whole, nutrient-dense foods, dietary supplements may be used when needs can’t be met through the diet or in cases of nutrient deficiencies. Below are some of the top-recommended supplements for children. In addition to these, consider giving your child a multivitamin and mineral supplement providing a broad-spectrum of nutrients to support general health. Supplements also come in a variety of forms, some of which children typically prefer, including powder, chewable tablets, gummies, or liquid.
Magnesium is an abundant mineral used in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Magnesium is involved in energy production, muscle contraction, blood glucose control, nerve function, and protein synthesis. Magnesium supplementation has been shown to improve hyperactivity and behavioral symptoms in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It can also play a key role in helping to manage symptoms of anxiety. Further, magnesium may help with insomnia by improving sleep efficiency, sleep time, and sleep onset latency. Dietary sources of magnesium include nuts and seeds (e.g., almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds), cocoa, spinach, black beans, and avocado.
The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) of magnesium by age group are:
Birth to 6 months: 30 mg
7–12 months: 75 mg
1–3 years: 80 mg
4–8 years: 130 mg
9–13 years: 240 mg
Boys 14–18 years: 410 mg
Girls 14–18 years: 360 mg
Top magnesium supplements on Fullscript:
Magnesium SAP by Nutritional Fundamentals for Health (NFH)
Magnesium Bis-Glycinate 200 Gentle by CanPrev
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). While the body is able to synthesize these fatty acids from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the conversion is limited, which makes dietary intake or supplementation of preformed EPA and DHA important. Clinical research suggests that EPA and DHA supplementation may improve attention, behavior, and literacy in children. High amounts of EPA and DHA are found in cod liver oil and fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies.
Top pediatric Omega-3 fatty acid supplements on Fullscript:
NutraSea Kids Bubble Gum Flavour by Ascenta Nutrasea
Children’s Trident SAP by Nutritional Fundamentals for Health (NFH)
Did you know that an infant’s first exposure to microorganisms occurs at birth? The microbial population of the gastrointestinal tract, known as the gut microbiota, includes bacteriophages, viruses, fungi, and bacteria. The gut microbiota assists in absorbing nutrients, modulating the immune system, defending the body against pathogens, and supporting gut health. Probiotics can be obtained from fermented foods or dietary supplements. Examples of probiotic-rich fermented foods include yogurt, fermented vegetables (e.g. kimchi, sauerkraut, unpasteurized pickles), and fermented soy (e.g. tempeh, miso). Supplementation with probiotics in children has been shown to decrease body mass index in obese children and improve symptoms of atopic dermatitis, diarrhea, and intestinal colic.
Top pediatric probiotic supplements on Fullscript:
HMF Fit for School by Genestra
HMF Child (blackcurrant) by Genestra
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is well known for its antioxidant actions. It assists in iron absorption, facilitates the conversion of cholesterol to bile salts, and is used as a co-factor in synthesizing amino acids and certain hormones. Vitamin C-rich foods include peppers, citrus fruit, strawberries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and tomatoes. Vitamin C supplementation has been shown to help relieve cold symptoms and reduce the duration of colds in children.
The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) of vitamin C by age group are:
Birth to 6 months: 40 mg
Infants 7-12 months: 50 mg
Children 1-3 years: 15 mg
Children 4-8 years: 25 mg
Children 9-13 years: 45 mg
Boys 14-18 years: 75 mg
Girls 14-18 years: 65 mg
Top collagen supplements on Fullscript:
Ascorbates SAP by Nutritional Fundamentals for Health (NFH)
Ultra-C™ Chewable – Orange by Metagenics
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin synthesized in the skin from exposure to sunlight. Research suggests that approximately 40% of children have sub-optimal levels of vitamin D. Adequate vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium and phosphorus in the intestinal tract and a deficiency of this vitamin can result in rickets and growth retardation in children. Dietary sources include oily fish, such as salmon, herring, and mackerel, and fortified foods, such as milk, juices, cheeses, and yogurt. Vitamin D supplementation may be required if needs are not met from sun exposure and dietary intake.
The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) of vitamin D by age group are:
Birth to 12 months 400 IU
Children 1-13 years 600 IU
Teens 14-18 years 600 IU
Top pediatric vitamin D supplements on Fullscript:
Vitamin D3 Drops 400IU by Natural Factors
D-Mulsion 400 by Genestra
In addition to these, you may consider giving your child a multivitamin and mineral supplement providing a broad-spectrum of nutrients to support general health. I know what it’s like… getting your child to take a supplements isn’t always easy, so the supplements listed come in a variety of forms, some of which children typically prefer, including powder, chewable tablets, gummies, or liquid.
For more information on pediatric nutrition and health, view Health Canada’s resource on Children and Healthy Eating by clicking HERE.