When it comes to meeting your child’s nutritional needs, is a balanced diet enough? In theory, the answer is yes. But, in practice, things aren’t quite that simple. Changes in appetite and allergies can both lead to deficiencies. That’s where natural supplements for kids come in. They can play an important role in preventing and treating dietary deficiencies at a young age. But before jumping in with both feet, let’s clear a few things up!
Self-Medicating Can Be a Risky Business
Supplements that are sold over-the-counter can pose a danger to a child’s health. Because of the risk of overdose and possible side effects, self-medicating is not advised. Whether or not a supplement is required is largely dependent on the quality of your child’s diet. Get the advice of a paediatrician on the type of supplement to give, the appropriate dosage, and the preferred mode of administration.
Natural Supplements for Toddlers
No doubt, you have already introduced your child to the benefit of supplements before you gave birth. When you’re pregnant, it is recommended to take multivitamins containing folic acid and iron. Folic acid prevents certain birth defects, and iron is essential for the healthy growth of the foetus. You can get almost all of your iron needs by eating eggs, chicken, red meat, legumes, and certain grains.
If you breastfeed your baby, the doctor can also prescribe vitamin K. An indispensable aid in blood clotting, this supplement for babies protects against haemorrhaging during the first months of life.
When it comes to calcium absorption, vitamin D is an important ally. The sun usually stimulates its formation in the skin. But the risks of sun exposure during peak times, coupled with long periods of low sunlight (this is Canada after all!), make getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D a little tricky. To ensure that your breastfed infant has enough of this important vitamin, see your doctor about prescribing a supplement.
Probiotics for Children
Probiotics aren’t harmful to children and contain microorganisms (bacteria and yeast) that reinforce the immune system in a number of ways, primarily by fostering the maintenance of a healthy intestinal flora. Probiotics also replace the bacteria normally present in the intestine when they are low or deficient.
Probiotics can be integrated in a child’s diet in liquid form starting at the age of two. Bio-K+® fresh drinkable products are also suitable for kids who have food intolerances and food allergies. Probiotic capsules can be introduced to children aged six years and older. They are a good option for kids who don’t like the taste of fermented products.
Natural supplements for kids are useful when children aren’t getting all of the nutrients they need from their diet. But beware of self-medicating. Over-the-counter supplements aren’t all harmless, even if they are touted as being “natural.” Be sure to consult your doctor who can advise you on the best approach for your child.