by Melissa Panchyshyn, MS, UW-Stout dietetic intern at the Eau Claire City County Health Department
There are a wide range of daily multi-vitamins on store shelves to choose from, including many different brands, forms, and flavors. Gummy vitamins have become quite popular for children who take a daily multi-vitamin. When choosing a vitamin supplement for your child, carefully choose a vitamin that will be safe and effective for your child’s unique needs. Also, check that it has the recommended daily allowances of the vitamins and minerals that children might need, including vitamins A, C, D, K, the B vitamins, iron, and calcium. There are several pros and cons to providing your child with a daily gummy multi-vitamin, which should be taken into consideration during your search for the vitamin that best fits your child’s needs.
• Children can be very picky eaters. Although it is best for children to get their nutrients from the food they consume, all parents and guardians know that this can be difficult at times. Gummy vitamins can be used to help make sure your child is consuming the proper amount of nutrients each day.
• Gummy vitamins can be easier for children to take. Most young children are unable to swallow pills, while the hard, chewable ones may be a difficult texture for them to chew or swallow. The gummy vitamins are softer and easier for young children to handle.
• Gummy vitamins have a comparable sweet taste and chewy texture that make them seem similar to eating candy. This often makes children excited to take them each day.
• There are a wide variety of brands, flavors, and shapes to choose from that allows you to find the best kind of gummy multi-vitamin that your child prefers, and that fits their specific needs.
Several cons to providing your children with daily multi-vitamins include the following:
• The similarity that gummy vitamins have to candy can make them tempting to a child looking for something sweet, like candy. It is important to store the gummy vitamins the same way that medicine is stored to ensure that children cannot get into them freely. Taking more than the recommended dose may give your child an overdose of vitamins.
• The gummy, sticky texture of the vitamins can be harmful to your child’s teeth, such as contributing to the formation of cavities. To avoid harm to your child’s teeth, have your child brush their teeth after consuming the gummy vitamins, rather than before. This will help remove some of the sticky residue left behind on the teeth, preventing the formation of cavities or other dental problems from occurring.
• In comparing gummy vitamins to the non-gummy forms, there are usually lower percentages of some nutrients in the gummy varieties. Reading the labels to compare the gummy vitamins to other forms will provide you with an educated decision about which form you prefer for your child.
• Vitamins should be taken along with a meal to help them be absorbed slowly and properly. If vitamins are absorbed too quickly, they may be excreted by the body and could cause an upset stomach or nausea.
• The cost of gummy vitamins is often more expensive than a pill form. It may be worth the cost if it is a way to get your children to take their vitamins daily.
Scientific reviews can be assessed about many of the popular vitamin brands. Looking at these reviews may be helpful in selecting a vitamin that you can be most comfortable with providing to your child. When looking at the scientific reviews about the various vitamin brands, focus on factors such as the ingredients, quality level, and safety of their vitamins. If you have any concerns about the nutritional well-being of your child, be sure to contact your doctor.