Parents often give their kids gummy vitamins because they are the only type of vitamins that their kids will take. It is easy to understand why, since many "gummies" are like candy. In fact, one gummy vitamin is made with "Jolly Rancher Sour" flavors.
Although many kids don't actually need to take a daily vitamin, if yours does, be sure he is actually getting all of the vitamins and minerals he needs from the supplement he takes. Simply choosing a vitamin because it is the only one he will take is not necessarily the best idea, since it might not even include the nutrients he is missing.
When necessary, most kids can take a daily children's multivitamin, which should have the recommended daily allowance of all of the vitamins and minerals they might need, including vitamins A, C, D, and K, the B vitamins, iron, and calcium.
Keep in mind that not all multivitamins have the same number of vitamins and minerals as others. For example, Centrum Kids Chewables Multivitamin has 23 different vitamins and minerals, but some other multivitamins, especially gummy vitamins, only have 14.
Also, while a chewable multivitamin might have 100 percent of the daily value for many nutrients, such as vitamin C, a gummy vitamin might only have 30 to 50 percent per serving. Gummy vitamins also don't have any iron in them.
Examples of gummy multivitamins include:
- Clifford Multi-Vitamin + Brain Health - includes omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)
- Coromega Multi-V Gummy Fruits for Kids
- Disney Gummies Multivitamin (various characters) - includes DHA (fish oil)
- Flintstones Gummies and Flintstones Sour Gummies
- IronKids Gummies
- L'il Critters Gummy Vites
- Marvel Heroes Gummies - includes DHA (fish oil)
- One-A-Day Kids Scooby-Doo! Gummies
- One-A-Day Kids Jolly Rancher Gummies
- One-A-Day Kids Jolly Rancher Sour Gummies
- Rhino Gummy Bear Vitamins
- yummi bears Multi-Vitamin and Mineral
Vitamin D and Calcium
Vitamin D is a very important vitamin that helps children develop strong bones and protects adults from developing osteoporosis (weak bones that break easily). That makes it important for kids to take a vitamin D supplement with 400 IU of vitamin D if they don't get enough foods in their diet that are fortified with vitamin D.
Most children don't need higher doses of vitamin D though, and the AAP recommends that those who do should have their vitamin D status checked (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and parathyroid hormone levels).
- Flintstones Gummies plus Bone Building Support (has Calcium and vitamin D)
- L'il Critters Calcium Gummy Bears with vitamin D
- L'il Critters Vitamin D Gummy Bears
- NBA All-Star Vitamin D Gummies
- Rhino Gummy Calci-Bears with vitamin D
In addition to, or instead of, more traditional multivitamins, or supplements with just vitamin D or calcium, some parents venture beyond multivitamins and give their kids other supplements, including fish oil supplements, extra vitamin C, fiber, or antioxidants.
The food pyramid recommends that kids eat "fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout, and herring," because fish oil may help prevent coronary artery disease. Because many kids don't eat these kinds of fish, and some parents believe that fish oil may also promote brain development and help prevent other diseases, many give their kids a high omega-3 fish oil supplement with DHA and EPA.
Although they are not thought to be harmful, giving kids fish oil supplements is a little controversial, as not all studies have shown that they have any benefit.
Gummy vitamins with fish oils are available for those parents who think their kids need them though, including:
- Clifford Multi-Vitamin + Brain Health - a multivitamin that includes omega-3 fatty acids
- Coromega Omega3 Gummy Fruits for Kids
- Disney Gummies Multivitamin (various characters) - includes DHA
- Iron Kids Gummies Omega-3's
- L'il Critters Omega-3 Gummy Fish
- Marvel Heroes Gummies - a multivitamin that includes DHA
- yummi bears DHA
Almost all vitamins for kids, whether they are chewable multivitamins or gummy vitamins, are going to include vitamin C. Most kids, even the pickiest eaters, get enough vitamin C from their diet though, as most fruit juices have 100% of your daily requirements of vitamin C in a single serving.
What about megadoses of vitamin C for kids? Although some parents consider giving their kids extra vitamin C as a preventative for colds, this is controversial and most experts don't recommend it.
Gummy vitamins with extra vitamin C include:
- Flintstones Gummies plus Immunity Support (has extra vitamin C)
- L'il Critters Immune C Gummy Bears
- Rhino Gummy Chewy C
- yummi bears vitamin C
Other Gummy Supplements
Other supplements for kids in gummy form that parents might give their kids include fiber and antioxidants:
- L'il Critters Fruit and Veggie Gummy Bears (antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E)
- Little Tummy's Fruity Fiber Gummies
- Pedia-Lax Fiber Gummies
- Rhino Gummy Veggie-Fruit (antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E)
Like vitamin C, the other antioxidants, vitamins A and E, are sometimes given to kids by their parents as immunity builders to try and prevent infections. As with vitamin C, this is not a proven benefit though. Also, keep in mind that many foods are now fortified with vitamins A, C, and E.
Many kids, especially those that don't eat fruits and vegetables, likely don't get enough fiber in their diet. The latest recommendations are that kids should eat about 14g of fiber for every 1,000 calories they eat. Those with a low fiber diet often have problems with constipation and stomach pains. If your kids can't get enough fiber by eating high fiber foods, they might benefit from one of these fiber supplements.
What you Need to Know About Gummy Vitamins
Should you give your kids extra vitamins and minerals or other supplements? If they need them, then sure. For example, toddlers who are such picky eaters that they are totally missing out on some food groups may need a multivitamin, teens who don't drink milk may need vitamin D and calcium supplements, and kids who are constipated often benefit from extra fiber supplements.
The benefit of many other supplements, such as antioxidants, fish oil, and extra vitamin C, is less clear cut. Often though, even if vitamins aren't making kids feel any better, they do at least make their parents feel reassured that they are doing something extra to keep them healthy.
To make informed decisions about gummy vitamins, also keep in mind that:
- Like other medicines, keep gummy vitamins out of your kids' reach, so that they don't take more than the recommended amount and get an overdose of vitamins, especially since most gummy vitamins taste like candy.
- Gummy vitamins usually don't have any iron and only limited amounts of calcium, which are two minerals that many kids who take supplements actually need. If your child doesn't eat many iron rich foods or foods supplemented with iron, then make sure the vitamin you are giving your child contains iron. A more specific calcium supplement, like Tums Kids Antacid/Calcium Supplement, would also be more helpful if your kids don't eat or drink enough calcium rich foods.
- Although there are many gummy vitamins that claim to give your kids a full serving of fruits and vegetables in a gummy, they usually don't have any fiber. Consider a fiber supplement if these are the main sources of fruits and vegetables that your kids get, unless they are eating other high fiber foods.
- If you give your child more than one type of supplement, like calcium and a fish oil supplement, make sure that you aren't doubling up on other vitamins, such as vitamin A, C, and D, which can lead to overdosages and serious side effects.
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