Dietary Supplements For Children

Should children be given supplements?

Vitamins and minerals are crucial for healthy growth and development in children. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, rice and more have the essential nutrients our children need. However, here is a common concern among many parents: “Should my child take supplements?”

Well, the answer could be as simple as a “YES” and “NO”! To find out more on dietary supplements and whether or not your child may need supplement intakes, read on as Pharmacist Tan Guat Hua from Multicare Pharmacy, Lobak Negeri Sembilan shed some light on this matter.

1Twenty80: Firstly, do all children need supplements?

Tan Guat Hua: Generally speaking, not every child needs supplements, provided they have a balanced diet everyday. Children who eat a well-balanced diet usually do not need vitamin or mineral supplements. However, some children are at risk of deficiencies and may need a supplement.

1Twenty80: When should parents consider giving their children supplements?

Tan Guat Hua: Parents should consider giving supplements to their children if they are picky eaters or when they do not like certain groups of fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, for children who are sub-healthy, parents can consider giving supplements accordingly to increase their nutrient levels of what they might need.

1Twenty80: At what age can parents start giving supplements to their children?

Tan Guat Hua: Well, this depends if there is a need for it. However, supplements can be given even when they’re infants. Some supplements that are best for infants are multivitamin drops.

On the other side of the coin, for schooling children, they tend to fall sick frequently.So, parents might want to include supplements to boost their immune system and protect them from falling ill.

1Twenty80: How do supplements help children with their everyday activities?

Tan Guat Hua: To begin with, supplements help to boost children’s health, energy as well as give them the nutrients they need. So, when they are healthy and energetic, they’re able to concentrate better while learning or even when engaging in physical activities such as playing games.

Over and above that, giving supplements to children can help reduce the frequency of them falling sick which may result in missing classes.

Parents should consider giving supplements to their children if they are picky eaters or when they do not like certain groups of fruits and vegetables.

1Twenty80: During these pandemic times, what are some of the supplements parents can opt for their children? 

Tan Guat Hua: There are a number of supplements that can benefit their child’s health and well being. For instance:

  • Vitamin C 
  • Yeast beta glucan
  • Probiotics 
  • Antioxidants

All of the supplements mentioned above are great in boosting their immune system.

1Twenty80: is it okay to give supplements and their child’s medication together?

Tan Guat Hua: This has been a very common question. Well, it is okay to give supplements and medications together. However, do take note that as long as there’s a time gap of one to two hours in between the supplement and medication, then it should be fine.

For example, give your child the necessary medication they need first, let it be before or after a meal. After an hour or two of taking the medicine, parents can then give the essential supplements to their child.

1Twenty80: Are there any specific supplements that parents shouldn’t give to their children?

Tan Guat Hua: All registered supplements that you can get from a licensed retailer such as pharmacies or under pharmacists’ recommendations are fine, but steer clear of those that are advertised online with no proper product registration or clear and detailed indication on the ingredients that are contained in the products. Chances are high for such products to skip the proper product registration with our Ministry of Health (MOH), so safety is a concern.

Do take note that as long as there’s a time gap of one to two hours in between the supplement and medication, then it should be fine.

1Twenty80: Is it true that some supplements could help with a child’s academic performance?

Tan Guat Hua: I think supplements work in two ways. Like I mentioned previously, when you are healthy, you are unlikely to miss school, so study is good. Without health issues like sinus, stomach ache, lethargy, children will be able to pay attention to their education.

Supplements such as Omega-3, DHA EPA, Bacopa, Lecithin and more are great in helping to boost brain power. Therefore it aids in their academic performance.

1Twenty80: Could you share with us some tips on how to help children take medicine or supplements?

Tan Guat Hua: Firstly, we must educate our children about the medicine and supplements they’re consuming and the importance of taking them according to the recommended dosage.

Secondly, occasionally people think supplements are safe and can be taken at any

amount as they pleased. Well, this is completely incorrect. By explaining to children the benefits of the medicine or supplements given, they will be more willing to cooperate after understanding why they needed to take the such products after or before their meal.

Useful tips on how to help your child develop healthily

  • Establish a sleeping schedule.
  • Encourage a healthy diet and include a rainbow of food into their everyday meals. 
  • Avoid purchasing snacks that are high in sugar, fat or heavily processed. Instead, stock your pantry with kid-friendly snacks that are both healthy and delicious.
  • Avoid exposing your children to secondhand smoke.
  • Lastly, educate your kids on the importance of good oral hygiene.