Vitamins and minerals are important for your family’s health. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion out there about what your family needs when it comes to vitamins and nutrients, and companies that are eager to ex_loit this.

What are vitamins & minerals?

Vitamins are organic substances that the body uses for growth and daily functioning. Minerals are minute amounts of rock and metals that the body uses for similar purposes taken up by plants and then concentrated in the tissue and bones of the animals that eat them. A diet poor in vitamins and minerals can lead to all sorts of health problems, because the body doesn’t have what it needs to build itself or function properly.

Do kids need to take a multi-vitamin?

A well-balanced diet provides all the vitamins and nutrients a person needs, so there’s usually no reason to take vitamin supplements. A survey in The Journal of Pediatrics found that 42% of kids ages 2 to 8 take a vitamin supplement, but most kids this age get the nutrients they need from diet alone (vitamin D being the one possible exception). So taking a multivitamin is generally unnecessary unless they’re a very picky eater or otherwise have a poor diet.

Nor are multi-vitamins a cure for a poor diet. While it may prevent serious conditions like scurvy, studies have consistently shown that vitamin supplements aren’t nearly as beneficial as the nutrients contained in actual food. “We don’t want people to think giving a child a multi-vitamin makes up for a diet of only hot dogs and French fries,” says pediatrician Steven Abrams. Ironically, those most likely to take vitamin supplements (educated families with a healthy diet) are actually the least likely to need them. (Wallis 2019)

If parents want to give their kids a daily multi-vitamin,it shouldn’t hu_t, but it’s probably not going to do a lot for their health, either, other than to give them, as one doctor put it, “really expensive pee.” You also shouldn’t go overboard with vitamins, which can actually be h_rmful and potentially d_ngerous.

Information on vitamins & supplements

The following information will answer other questions you might have about vitamins & minerals: