Do Kids Need Vitamin Supplements for Healthy Growth?

Food supplements make look like an easy solution to a lot of problems when it comes to your child’s eating habits. One could easily be muddled with the fancy advertisements with colorful products and cartoon characters. But how do you decide if they are right for kids’ health?

To supplement or not to supplement?

Although vitamin supplements are not hazardous, children should be getting nutrients from their diet in an ideal situation.

Even a picky eater gets all the nutrients he/she needs from their food. Many common kids’ food like cereals, milk, and, snacks are enriched with important nutrients such as vitamin B, D, calcium, and iron. So, it may be possible that your child is getting more minerals and vitamins than you think he/she is.

In case of premature birth, the neonate might need vitamin D supplementation when discharged from the intensive care unit. If you are breastfeeding your infant, the pediatrician may have prescribed supplementation.

The right diet

Understanding a child’s diet is no rocket science. One simple and best method is to follow the rainbow diet. A colorful variety of fruits and vegetables get all nutrients they need. A multivitamin dose can be an add but don’t favor the gummies, they aren’t good for the teeth.

Top five Vitamins and Minerals for Kids

Here is a little ABC of minerals and vitamins for children.

Vitamin A 

Good sources include milk, cheese, butter, eggs, and yellow-to-orange vegetables like carrots, yams, and squash.

Vitamin A supplements promotes healthy skin, vision, bone and tooth growth, better immune system.

The family of B vitamins

Good sources include meat, chicken, fish, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese, beans, soybeans citrus fruit, strawberries, kiwi, tomatoes, and green vegetables like broccoli.

Vitamin B is a part of the enzymes needed for energy metabolism, important for the nervous system and digestive system promotes healthy muscles, connective tissue, and skin.

Vitamin D

The best source of vitamin D is sunlight. Animal sources include milk and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel.

Vitamin D is essential for a growing child as it promotes bone and tooth formation and helps the body absorb calcium.


Good sources include milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, and calcium-fortified orange juice.

Calcium helps build strong bones as a child grows.


Good sources include beef and other red meats, turkey, pork, spinach, beans, and prunes.

Iron builds muscle and is essential to healthy red blood cells.

There are water-soluble vitamins as well as fat-soluble vitamins. Excess water-soluble vitamins are likely to be flushed from the body with urine but over dosage of fat-soluble minerals can be toxic for the body.  Hence, the dosage of multivitamins and minerals should be strictly supervised.

How to decide if my child needs supplements?

Well-rounded, home-cooked meals are not always possible for time-crunched parents, given the reality of time. Parental care might oblige you to give your child supplements, while there is no harm in it and you may go ahead once the pediatrician gives you a go-ahead, but do not let them take the place of a healthy balanced diet. The pediatrician may recommend multi-vitamin or mineral supplements for:

  • Kids who don’t eat a well-balanced diet from fresh, whole foods including vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc.
  • Kids on medications for conditions such as asthma or digestive problems. Seek the doctor’s advice before you start any supplementation.
  • Kids who prefer a lot of fast food and processed food.
  • Kids on a vegetarian/ vegan diet may lack calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, or iron since they don’t consume milk or milk products. Such children might need supplements.
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages and colas leach vitamins and minerals from the body. The doctor may suggest supplements to make up for the loss of those in children.

If the doctor prescribes supplements, choose the one that is designated for your child’s age group.

Ensure it does not provide more than 100 percent of the Daily Value of the vitamin and minerals. Lastly, keep them out of your child’s reach and ensure you make it clear to them that it is not candy that they are consuming.