Monday, September 16, 2013

Toddler Supplements

Note: I am not a doctor. I choose supplements for my family based on my knowledge and experience as a nutritionist and information that I receive from a naturopathic doctor. Always consult a naturopathic doctor before taking supplements or giving them to your children.

Babies, under one year of age, are able to get all of their nutrients from breast milk or formula (and some solid foods). There are some instances where a doctor might recommend a supplement for a baby (ie. anemia), but for the majority of infants, supplements aren't necessary. Based on my knowledge as a nutritionist, the one exception is probiotics. Teagan and Quinn have been taking a probiotic supplement since they were 3 weeks old. You can read about probiotics for babies here

After the girls turned 1, I added DHA and EPA (Omega-3s) to the mix. 

Teagan and Quinn's daily supplements
Why do I give the girls these two supplements?

Probiotics (Genestra HMF Powder)
  • For a healthy immune system -- The majority of your immune cells can be found in the digestive tract, so keeping it full of "good" bacteria will keep you and your kids healthy. 
  • Reduces inflammation in the body -- This can help a TON of issues, including your child's eczema, allergies and rashes. 
  • Improves the digestive system -- Helps diarrhea, constipation, gas and conditions like IBS.
  • For making vitamins and mineral absorption -- "Good" bacteria will actually make vitamins, like B12 and folic acid, for your body. The good guys will also help your body absorb minerals, like calcium and magnesium.
Omega-3 Supplements (Nordic Naturals Children's DHA liquid)
  • Cognitive and nervous system development -- DHA and EPA (Omega-3 fats) are extremely beneficial in children's brain and nervous system development. It is especially important for a fetus (so mom takes it), babies and toddlers since growth is so rapid at that age. 
  • ADHD and mood disorders -- Omega-3 fats, particularly DHA, has been known to help children suffered from ADHD and similar symptoms. EPA helps decrease the incidence of childhood depression and other mood disorders. 
  • Infant visual development -- Since an infant's visual system is very poorly developed at birth, DHA supplementation by a breastfeeding mother has been proven to improve an infant's eyesight more than those who did not receive any additional DHA. 
  • Inflammatory conditions -- Omega-3 fats will help children and adults alike who suffer from asthma, allergies, eczema and other skin conditions. 

Not all supplements are created equal.

There is a very wide price range in the Omega-3 supplement department. You get what you pay for. Your fish oils should not smell super fishy. If they do, they are rancid. They should always be stored in the fridge. Omega-3 fats are very unstable, meaning exposure to heat (even just the warmth of your kitchen) can cause them to go rancid quickly. While you don't need to buy the most expensive supplements on the market, it is wise to head into a health food store and speak with the staff. They are almost always well-trained in supplements and there is usually a Naturopathic Doctor on hand. I usually purchase Genestra's probiotics and Nordic Natural's Omega-3 oils. 

1 comment:

  1. Love this information. Thank you.
    Both will be beneficial to at least 2 of my children....if not all.

    Also. I need a vitamin for my son who won't eat ANYTHING worth a lick of health. I mean...peanut butter and jelly is a staple and we've just been able to add corn. (the worst vegetable to eat) The only fruit he'll eat is apple SAUCE and bananas. Which is why he's on mirolax. HELLOOOO-O
    He won't eat gummies, chewables, drops. He's SO damn hard. I need a multivitamin that either has no taste or a good taste that I can mix with juice secretly. (????) any ideas.