Balanced nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are essential throughout life to ensure optimal health and vitality, but are even more important during childhood. Young age is characterized by continued physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development,that may be affected by inadequate intake of essential nutrients.
Although nothing can substitute for a balanced diet, the daily use of several supplements formulated for kids may help to assure an adequate intake of key nutrients, and provide a nutritional insurance policy against deficiency. These formulas can keep your child feeling healthy, fit and focused. It may provide them with a natural advantage by supporting immune function, physical development, and even concentration and learning abilities.
When kids are heading back to school it’s inevitable that they will be exposed to colds, flu and various other “germs” when sitting in a classroom all day. Vitamins play an important role in immune response. Deficiencies have been shown to cause impaired immune response, antibody production and activity. This may influence the susceptibility of children to infectious diseases, as well as the course and outcome of such diseases. 5-25
Given the abundance of food in our modern world, we might think that nutritional deficiencies only exist in developing countries. Surprisingly, this is not the case. Researchers found that a significant proportion of children received inadequate nutrition for optimal physical and emotional development even in the most affluent countries. In fact, 75-80% of the diet of children do not meet with the current nutritional recommendations in Sweden, the UK, or the USA. 1, 2, 3
The Linus Pauling Institute recommends that children ages 4 to 13 years take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. 4
In addition, a recent review published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that analyzed the results of 20 individual trials found that multiple micronutrient supplementation may have a positive effect on fluid intelligence (reasoning ability) and academic performance. 26
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Essential fatty acids are vitally important for normal growth and development of our kids. They are especially important for the healthy development of the brain, and thus the optimal cognitive, mental, emotional, and social development of the child. Over half of the brain’s dry weight is comprised of lipids, and it is especially rich in omega-3 fatty acids. 27-31
Deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be associated with neurological and developmental disorders, characterized by learning and behavioral difficulties. A greater number of behavioral problems, such as temper tantrums and sleep difficulties were reported in subjects with lower total omega-3 fatty acid concentrations compared to children with normal concentrations. Additionally, more learning problems were found in child with lower total omega-3 fatty acid concentrations. 32-42
Taking a high-quality fish oil formula may be a good option, especially for kids who don’t eat much fish.
Gut health is as important for kids and adolescents as it is for adults. Their brain development, their immunity and their assimilation of important nutrients all depends on the health of their gut microbiota. 43-49
A 6-month trial, the results of which were published in Pediatrics, found that a probiotic mixture (L. acidophilus NCFM, Bifidobacterium animalis) reduced in children the incidence of fever by 72.7%, coughing incidence by 62.1%, rhinorrhea (“runny nose”) by 58.8%, antibiotic use by 82.4% relative to the placebo group. 61
Probiotics in capsule form NOW® PROBIOTIC-10™ 25 BILLION, is a cost effective way to safeguard your children’s health.
Last but not least, an increasing amount of evidence has shown that healthy gut microbiota plays a key role in the development and function of the central nervous system, and contributes to the early development of normal social behaviors and cognitive functions, such as learning and memory. 50-60
We all know that calcium can be a part of balanced multivitamin and mineral supplementation, but its importance during childhood should be emphasized. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, and approximately 99 % of total body calcium is stored in the bones and teeth where it supports their structure and function. During childhood, an adequate dietary supply of calcium is critically important for the development and maintenance of strong and healthy bones.
In balanced diets, dairy products contribute around 52–75 % of the reference intake of calcium, but if your child is unable, or unwilling to consume dairy products, you should be aware of which foods can provide sufficient amount of calcium. Studies showed that in growing children, long-term avoidance of cow milk may be associated with small stature and poor bone health.62
Calcium choices for those who do not consume dairy products include green leafy vegetables such us collard and turnip greens, kale, bok choy, legumes including soybeans and other soy products (tofu made with calcium, soy yogurt, tempeh), some other beans, and calcium-fortified foods (juices, cereals, breads, rice milk, almond milk or other non-dairy “milks”). In such cases, a high-quality calcium supplement may be recommended to provide extra assurance that nutritional needs are being met. 63-71
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