The body operates from many mechanisms, most of which require energy and most of this energy comes through having the nutrients on board that the body needs to make energy. Not only energy but the body needs nutrients for the production and growth of healthy tissue, for the nervous system, the gut, and the immune system, not to mention the working parts such as neurotransmitters, hormones, proteins and enzymes.
This is something we all know and understand and strive as parents to make sure our children get what they need for healthy body and mind. However sometimes life gets in the way and they can get shorted here and there. There is the factor of school lunches, and birthday parties, the lure of fast food chains, picky-eater syndrome and so on. We strive to do our best, but how do I know my child is getting what it needs? How much protein? How many vegetables? How do I regulate sweets? Is my child even absorbing the nutrients I am giving? Thank goodness there is testing now for this, see below for links!
So if you look at symptoms or changes in your child’s health you might see things like dry skin, sullen eyes, tooth decay, pale skin, lots of allergies, hair not growing, short stature, inability to think or focus well and you may think, “What am I missing here? Should I give my child vitamins?”
The most common vitamin
deficiencies in children are
calcium, vitamin D,
iron and magnesium.
It is best if we get nutrients from food if we can. Although the food sources and nutrient quality of the food is not as good as it used to be, we can still use foods with some supplementation if needed.
Food sources of
- calcium – canned wild salmon with bones, dairy and dark leafy greens
- iron – red meats, poultry, salmon, raisins, greens
- magnesium – spinach, swiss chard and beet greens
- vitamin D – sunshine, oily fish and eggs.
- Here is a full list of nutrients and foods that contain them.
A good supplement will have active forms of the B vitamins, such as for B6, they will have pyridoxal-5-phosphate rather than pyridoxine. These are easier for the body to assimilate. Also, the vitamin should have L-5-MTHF or Methyl folate, for B9 and methyl cobalamin for B12. Smarty Pants is a good one for this and has EPA and DHA or omega 3’s as well. It does not however contain iron, magnesium or calcium.
Then there is the question of a child’s specific needs based on his/her activity level, overall size and BMI as compared to what is normal for their age. If a child is a high level athlete or they have specific health conditions, they may need more or less of certain micronutrients, minerals, antioxidants or phytonutrients.
The good news is THERE IS AN ACCURATE TEST for nutrients and it checks INTRACELLULAR levels as opposed to serum levels. The test is by Cell Science and you can see a sample report here. They even can make a custom vitamin pack based on your results. We have run this with success for years and patients love the confidence they feel and we also notice a difference in their health. A few labs do these types of tests, Cell Science is the preferred at our office. The test is a blood test and requires 1-2 tubes of blood and about a week to get the results. The cost is 300-400 usd. The testing is for children age 9 and up.
Hope this helps!