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What are the most important vitamins and minerals that your kids need?

ANSWER

In the alphabet soup of vitamins and minerals, a few stand out as critical for growing kids.

Megavitamins are not a good idea for children. It’s also possible for kids to get dangerously high amounts of vitamins A, D, E, and K as well as iron.

Megavitamins -- large doses of vitamins -- aren't a good idea for children. The fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K) can be toxic if kids overdose on excessive amounts. Ditto with iron. Your kids can get too much of a good thing.

  • Vitamin A promotes normal growth and development; tissue and bone repair; and healthy skin, eyes, and immune responses. Good sources include milk, cheese, eggs, and yellow-to-orange vegetables like carrots, yams, and squash.
  • Vitamin Bs. The family of B vitamins -- B2, B3, B6, and B12 -- aid metabolism, energy production, and healthy circulatory and nervous systems. Good sources include meat, chicken, fish, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese, beans, and soybeans.
  • Vitamin C promotes healthy muscles, connective tissue, and skin. Good sources include citrus fruit, strawberries, kiwi, tomatoes, and green vegetables like broccoli.Some vitamins and minerals are as critical for growing kids.
  • Vitamin A for growth, tissue and bone repair, and healthy skin, eyes, and immune system.
  • Vitamin Bs (B2, B3, B6, and B12) for metabolism, energy, and healthy circulatory and nervous systems. Vitamin C for healthy muscles, connective tissue, and skin.
  • Vitamin D for bone and teeth growth, and to help the body absorb calcium. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight.
  • Calcium for strong bones.
  • Iron builds muscle and is essential to healthy red blood cells. Iron deficiency is a concern in adolescence, especially for girls when they get their periods.
  • Vitamin D promotes bone and tooth formation and helps the body absorb calcium. Good sources include milk and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight.
  • Calcium helps build strong bones as a child grows. Good sources include milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, and calcium-fortified orange juice.
  • Iron builds muscle and is essential to healthy red blood cells. Iron deficiency is a risk in adolescence, especially for girls once they begin to menstruate. Good sources include beef and other red meats, turkey, pork, spinach, beans, and prunes.

SOURCES:

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: "Diet and Nutrition."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "How do I know if my child is eating enough?"

American Academy of Pediatrics and Schor, E.L., editor-in-chief. , Bantam, 2001. Caring for Your School-Age Child (Ages 5-12)

Ditchek, S. H. and Greenfield, R.H. Harper Collins, 2002. Healthy Child, Whole Child: Integrating the Best of Conventional and Alternative Medicine,

American Diabetes Association: "The Big Three."

FDA, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition: "Spot the Block."

Nemours Foundation: "Kids' Health: Vitamins."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on May 08, 2018

SOURCES:

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: "Diet and Nutrition."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "How do I know if my child is eating enough?"

American Academy of Pediatrics and Schor, E.L., editor-in-chief. , Bantam, 2001. Caring for Your School-Age Child (Ages 5-12)

Ditchek, S. H. and Greenfield, R.H. Harper Collins, 2002. Healthy Child, Whole Child: Integrating the Best of Conventional and Alternative Medicine,

American Diabetes Association: "The Big Three."

FDA, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition: "Spot the Block."

Nemours Foundation: "Kids' Health: Vitamins."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on May 08, 2018

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