The article discusses the best multivitamins for kids and how to determine if your child needs a multivitamin.
Do kids need a multivitamin? Do picky eaters need a multivitamin? What is the best multivitamin for kids?
It’s difficult to confidently answer these common questions without evidence (ie lab work demonstrating deficiencies) of need. However, there are a few questions that you could ask to better determine if your child needs a multivitamin.
Does your child need a Multivitamin?
Are there any signs that your child isn’t getting the nutrition that they need? Is something not working right? Are you hoping for a miracle?
Studies do show that kids with autism and other eating difficulties are at a higher risk for low nutrient levels compared to their peers. That being said, though anecdotal tales of transformation following supplementation abound, scientific research has yet to support the claim that vitamin supplementation has a dramatic impact on a child’s behavior.
A multivitamin is certainly indicated if there are signs of nutrient deficiencies (you can see some hallmark signs here), however, it is likely not the most worthwhile solution if you are hoping to improve your child’s autism symptoms.
What Is Your Child Eating?
Before recommending a multivitamin, I always look at a child’s typical diet. A multivitamin may not be required just because your child only eats brown foods or has never had a green vegetable a day in their life.
Fruits and vegetables do house many vital nutrients, however, if your child is not eating these foods or does not eat a substantial amount of these foods, they may still be getting the necessary nutrients from other sources. For example, though not ideal vehicles for nutrition, juice, applesauce, purees, and fortified foods may be providing your child with the vitamins and minerals they need. That being said, if your child has a very limited and monotonous diet (ie is eating the same few foods day after day), it is possible they are not obtaining the nutrients they need from food.
Does a Multivitamin Fit into Your Budget or Lifestyle?
Nutrition supplements are expensive! Before running off to the store, it’s worth considering if starting your child on a multivitamin is a realistic endeavor. If you are committed to supplementation, really think about what gaps you’re hoping to fill. Supplementing with a single specific nutrient may be more appropriate.
Is Getting Your Child to Take a Multivitamin Going to Add More Stress in your Life?
Most of the families I work with want to start a multivitamin, but their child simply won’t eat it. I have some great options for kid-friendly multivitamins that are either sweet and tasty or totally benign below. While these work for many kids, they don’t work for all. If you’re already struggling to feed your child three times a day, fighting to get a multivitamin in may not be worth the stress.
When is a Multivitamin Indicated?
A multivitamin is certainly required if you have detected known micronutrient deficiencies through lab testing or suspect deficiencies due to other symptoms. I also might recommend a multivitamin for children who eat little variety and/or exclude entire food groups.
What to Look for in a Kid’s Multivitamin
When selecting a kid’s multivitamin, you’ll be looking two options: with and without iron. The choice is yours based on your child’s diet and the perspective of their pediatrician. Most vitamins are water-soluble, which means that your child will simply eliminate whatever they don’t need in their urine. But vitamins A, D, E, and K are stored in the body’s fat. This means that there is a risk of toxicity (levels higher than the recommended).
When buying a multivitamin, be sure to look at the label. You want to avoid multivitamins that contain more than 100% of the daily value of vitamin (especially of the fat-soluble ones). I also like to avoid multivitamins that contain artificial ingredients, including food dyes.
The Best Multivitamins for Kids
Best Gummy Multivitamin for Kids: SmartyPants Kids Complete Daily Gummy
This is a complete multivitamin that contains a comprehensive panel of nutrients, such as folate, biotin, zinc , and omega 3 fatty acids. Though they do contain one gram of sugar per gummy (4 grams per daily serving), they’re totally delicious. They also have a toddler formula.
Best Liquid Multivitamin for Kids: Mary Ruth Organics Liquid Daily Multivitamin Essentials
Mary Ruth Organic’s kid-friendly liquid multivitamin contains all of the essentials without added sugar or artificial ingredients. It comes in fruit punch and strawberry flavors.
Best Multivitamins for Kids with Probiotic: Zarbee’s Naturals Children Complete Multivitamin, Probiotic and B Complex Gummies
Zarbee Natural’s gummies only have 2 grams of sugar and are packed with the basic multivitamin panel in addition to folic acid, B vitamins, and a probiotic. They’re all-natural and are sweetened with honey and agave.
Best Multivitamins for Kids who are Extreme Picky Eaters (tasteless dissolvable powder): My Spectrum Heroes
My Spectrum Heroes Multivitamin and Mineral Plus is an unflavored, dissolvable powdered multivitamin specifically designed to support children’s neurocognitive health. It mixes flawlessly with picky eaters’ favorite foods like macaroni and cheese, juice, apple sauce, and more. Bonus: My Spectrum Heroes is free of artificial ingredients and preservatives.
You can also try their omega 3, probiotic, and fiber supplement.
Bonus: use code JENNY10 for 10% off
Best Multivitamins for Kids with Autism: Simple Spectrum
I recommend this to my ASD families because of the mild taste and easy texture. Even the most picky eaters do okay with it. Beyond that, Simple Spectrum was designed specifically for kids with special needs and eating difficulties. Many families report tremendous improvements in their child’s health and autism symptoms after starting Simple Spectrum, which may be due to its containing nutrients in forms and doses not found in most other multivitamins (again, this may explain why some kids report such awesome results, but it is also something to monitor with a physician). Bonus: It’s also great for kids with MTHFR mutations.
The Best Natural Kids Multivitamin with Iron: The Honest Co. Non-GMO Baby and Toddler Powder Packs
This multivitamin is made with real food also contains digestive enzymes, iron, and bioavailable forms of nutrients (so it’s appropriate for kids with the MTHFR mutation). The individual packs are easy to take on the go.
Multivitamins for kids – and even picky eaters – are not a requirement, but they can certainly help fill in nutrient gaps. It’s important to know that all multivitamins are not created equally. The best multivitamins for kids depends on your child’s needs and food preferences. If you’re considering a multivitamin for your picky eater, focus on what nutrients they most need and what form of vitamin (gummy, liquid, powder) they will be most likely to accept. The list above describes the best multivitamins for kids and picky eaters.