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Children's Supplements

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Choosing the right supplements for the little people in your family is based on many factors. Age, gender, general health and immune status, dietary habits, allergies, food sensitivities, activity levels, and even stress need to be considered..

Choosing the right supplements for the little people in your family is based on many factors. Age, gender, general health and immune status, dietary habits, allergies, food sensitivities, activity levels, and even stress need to be considered. Build the foundation of your child's supplement program with a high-quality multiple vitamin and mineral formulation from your natural health products store. Here are the primary ABC's of children's supplements a quick reference list to take with you to your local health store.

Vitamin A, as found in children's multis, is ideally derived from natural mixed carotenoids. Found in foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, and all colourful fruits and vegetables, natural carotenoids offer cellular protection against environmental pollutants such as smog, car exhaust fumes, and second-hand smoke. Make certain you choose a formulation with a blend of natural carotenoids, not just beta carotene. Cod liver oil, a natural source of vitamins A, D, and omega-3 fatty acids, continues to be one of Europe's most popular dietary supplements. A study at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary (published in the July 2004 issue of the Annals of Otology, Rhinology - Laryngology) found that children with recurring otitis media (ear infection) who were given a daily dose of one teaspoon of cod liver oil suffered fewer infections.

Vitamin B complex is a family of micronutrients naturally found in whole grains, yogourt, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and nutritional yeast. The B vitamins are critical to childhood health and well-being. They support metabolic function, stress control, energy production, healthy skin, and many other aspects of daily life. Be sure your child's multiple vitamin and mineral contains the full spectrum of all the B vitamins, especially folic acid, B6, and B12. A study of Dutch children
published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (January 2003) found that these three B's help reduce homocysteine levels, which can lead to vascular damage.

Vitamin C in chewable form is a favourite with children of all ages. Just make sure to keep it, and all other supplements well out of the reach of little hands looking for a treat. Vitamin C formulated with bioflavonoids and other cofactors such as quercetin, hesperidin and rutin is your best choice because it contains a fuller spectrum of vitamin C. Your child's bones, teeth, gums, and immune system require optimal levels of vitamin C every day.

Vitamin D, especially in regions with limited sunshine, is another primary ingredient in a child's balanced multiple vitamin and mineral formula. It's required for building a strong skeletal system and healthy teeth.

Vitamin E from 100 percent natural mixed tocopherols is the ideal source provided in a child's multiple vitamin and mineral formulation. Children rarely require additional vitamin E, although it can prove useful to have on hand for topical use.

Minerals are as essential as vitamins in a child's nutritional support program. Choose a multiple vitamin and mineral formulation that includes the primary minerals calcium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc. Iron is optional depending upon your child's iron levels and dietary intake. Supplemental iron is not recommended unless your child is low or deficient as evidenced by a blood test. Chromium may be helpful for children with sugar metabolism problems but should only be taken under professional supervision.

Essential fatty acid supplements are proving to be the most exciting discovery for therapeutic use in improving concentration and treating children's Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other behavioural problems. Omega-3 fats from fish oil supplements have helped improve the lives of many children and their families affected by these debilitating conditions. Food sources of omega-3 fats include salmon, sardines, walnuts, and flaxseeds.

Evening primrose or borage oil can be helpful in controlling childhood skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis. Vitamin B6 and zinc (citrate or chelate) are important nutrient cofactors in the successful use of evening primrose for skin disorders.

Herbs for children are best used with the guidance of a qualified natural health care provider or herbalist. Echinacea tincture is a mainstay of most family medicine chests. For the best results, use it only when necessary for fighting infections. Camomile tea is a mild sedative and relaxant.

Homeopathic remedies are the ideal form of natural medicine for children. Homeopathy is a specialized and intricate system for encouraging the body to heal itself. Children love taking the tiny pills, which are easy to swallow and non-toxic. Consult a qualified homeopathic practitioner or health advisor to determine the most appropriate remedies for your child.

Follow the directions detailed on all product labels, or consult your qualified natural health care provider. Avoid artificial colours, flavours, and sweeteners when choosing your child's supplements. They are not always easy to avoid, but it is worth your time to make sure they are not included in your ingredients list. Many children are sensitive to these ingredients, and their cumulative effect can negate the value of giving your child a nutritional supplement.
Combined with an organic whole foods diet, supplements help build the foundation your child needs to live a healthy, happy, long life.

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