Why My Kids Don’t Take Vitamins

A lot of readers have been asking me lately what kind of vitamins my kids take and the answer is…none at all. Vitamins aren’t necessarily harmful or going to cause medical problems when they’re used properly, but it’s not something we personally choose to deal with (or pay for).

First of all, we pretty much rely on our steady diet of whole foods (including lots of variety and plenty of produce) when it comes to getting all the vitamins and minerals we need. No one does a better job than nature when it comes to creating the perfect delivery package for the nutrients your body needs. Secondly, in Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food he indicates that those who take supplements may be “healthier for reasons having nothing to do with the pills” because in controlled studies most supplements “don’t appear to work.”

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Now a lot of doctors and nutritionists do recommend taking a daily multi-vitamin, and, since you should of course take your doctor’s advice over mine, I want to share some of the better vitamin brands that are out there. My doctor recently recommended that I take a short term Vitamin D booster, based on my most recent blood results, and when I was out shopping for this vitamin I couldn’t believe how many of them are full of junky additives! Vitamins, especially for kids, are oftentimes full of artificial sweeteners, colorings, and flavorings. I’ve found that there is a bigger – and better – selection if you shop at places like Amazon.com as well as stores that are dedicated to vitamins and health like Swanson Health Products or your local Vitamin Shoppe. I’ll warn you now to just forget Target when it comes to shopping for vitamins because the choices there are pretty slim.

Yummy Bears Organics Multivitamin for children

So for all those that feel better about taking (or giving their kids) a regular multivitamin, here are a few “cleaner” options:

Remember that with most anything you get what you pay for, and this is especially true for vitamins! Do you use vitamins or not?  What kind of vitamins do you recommend?

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328 thoughts on “Why My Kids Don’t Take Vitamins”

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  1. I have a question, but it’s not related to the post. I’m wondering what a real food person says about stevia/truvia, the all natural no calorie sweetener. I was using it, thinking I was being really healthy, and now I am not sure and would like another opinion.

  2. I am curious about orange juice. I have always bought Simply Orange and am curious if it is actually good for your health or if it is more harmful. What is your take on buying fruit juices from the store?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Elizabeth. We typically avoid fruit juices, but, I do still have one that likes orange juice. It’s a “treat” in our house and we do buy the Simply Orange. I will admit I’ve not looked that closely to see if there are other brands that are better since we have it so rarely. Jill

  3. I’ve always taken Shaklee vitamins. I take the B-complex and vitalea with iron. They also have clean home products. They have vitamins for children but I haven’t tried them yet. I recently looked at the ingredients for my son’s gummies and it’s filled with sugar and artificial color. My pediatrician actually recommended Flinstones… I don’t think she’s worried about all these chemicals.

  4. My 3 year old takes a chewable multivitamin because around a year old, he was anemic, so the dr. suggested iron drops. He hated the drops, so as soon as he was old enough, we switched to chewables. We use the Whole Foods brand, which doesn’t have any of the added junk. I haven’t been strict about making sure he takes them. He likes them, so he usually reminds me. But if we skip a day or so, I don’t think it’s a big deal because we eat well. Now that his iron levels are up to normal, I’ll be even less worried, but will continue with the vitamins every other day.

    Just a note about your recommendations – I would be hesitant to recommend any gummy vitamins, because none of these contain iron, which is so crucial to brain development. Our pediatrician made sure to tell us not to get gummy vitamins!

  5. We tend to stick with Garden of Life brand for most vitamins… I used to use New Chapter, but after they were sold and started adding bad stuff, I switched. We all take their Vitamin code multis, omegas and probiotics. They are expensive but I feel they are worth it. My dentist highly discourages gummies of any kind because they are so bad for your teeth, so I only do chewables. I also started to take coconut oil capsules and have noticed less hair loss.. but I also started using coconut oil on my scalp, elbows, knees and feet, and in most of my cooking around the same time. I also have on hand liquid forms of vitamin d3, echinacea/goldenseal, colloidal silver and B-12 for occasional use when needed. My husband thinks it’s overkill, but we hardly ever get sick, so I’m sticking with it :)

  6. The supplements I take I highly recommend, although they are more expensive than regular vitamins at Target, Whole Foods, etc. I take Standard Process supplements–you can only buy them from a chiropractic office or wellness provider. (You might be able to get them directly off the website; I’ve never tried as I always go to my chiropractor). They are so healthy for you that when I moved across the country and had to find a new chiropractor, I based my decision on if he/she sold Standard Process. Just as an example, my Whole Food Fiber ingredient list: oat, beets, rice, carrot root, beet root, apple pectin, and carrot fiber. My body just craves it! The company is dedicated to having only natural ingredients in all their supplements. Highly recommend!

  7. Really pay attention to the ingredients in liquid vitamins. They often contain artificial preservatives like BHT that are bad news.

    1. What about essential fatty acids like fish oil? Or probiotics?

      Many factors combined have resulted in foods becoming “nutritionally hollow”. Modern farming methods have thrown the entire cycle out of balance. Our farming soils are weak, which results in sick plants that cannot manufacture the nutrients we need to stay healthy and fight illness and disease.

      The increased use of pesticides and irradiation on our produce leaves a finished food with poisons and lower nutrients. The chemicals used in pesticides contaminate the soil, and kill the good microbes that produce essential Fulvic. The use of hybrid seeds and crop management based on economics further drains our foods of their minerals and vitamins.

  8. Some have mentioned probiotics. I’ve only bought them once and that was when my 15mth old had a long bout of diaherra. I when to the pharmacy at walmart. Is that the kind of probiotics you are taking?

    1. I used to take just any probiotics from just any store, but I admit that I have gotten a lot more picky over the years. Right now I only take Garden of Life brand. Not saying this is the only good brand. It is the best one in my opinion of the ones I have looked into. :)

      They have a much higher does than a lot of the probiotic supplements out there, which I have heard of with one or two other companies. And the company really focuses on making supplements that are derived from whole foods rather than from a laboratory, as well as paying attention to how the foods they use are farmed.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Kellpy. I have heard wonderful things about it, although I don’t personally own one. I have a Ninja and really like that (and it’s MUCH cheaper). Jill

  9. Have you researched anything about prenatal supplements? It’s super easy to do the gummy kind (I can throw them in my mouth and go on with what I’m doing instead of getting a glass of water. How lazy am I?!). But I’m guessing they would have a lot additives? Any thoughts?

    1. Not sure if you meant a general gummy or a prenatal gummy. Did your OBGYN recommend a prenatal? I got a prescription vitamin with all 3 of my pregnancies. Actually I started taking it 3 months before I intended to try and get pregnant and continued with it until I was done pumping for my 3rd and final. Though I realized that my vitamin contained artificial colors in the coating, so when I was done pumping I switched to something from whole foods. The advantage to an actual prenatal vitamin is that it has things specifically needed for pregnancy, like larger levels of folic acid. (Also, most gummy’s have close to a teaspoon of sugar per child’s serving size :(

      I would also recommend taking a fish oil supplement at least until you are done having kids/breast feeding. I read that both pregnancy and pumping/breast feeding severely depletes one’s stores of Omega-3’s. High levels of Omega-3’s in mothers correlate to better mental state of the mother (lower instance of postpartum depression, etc.) as well as brain/mental state benefits for the developing fetus & baby. I personally don’t like fish, but it’s recommended to eat less fish anyway when pregnant because of mercury levels anyway. Good brands of fish oil, like spectrum, are mercury free.

    2. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Christine. No, we’ve not done any research specifically on pre-natals. I believe there might be some recommendations from some of our readers in the comments of this post if you’d like to take a look. Jill

  10. We don’t do vitamins either. I do make sure my family gets their Green Pastures fermented CLO + butter oil everyday as well as a tbsp of coconut oil. Between these two items we rarely have a sniffle in our home and my kids have only ever gone to the doctor for their well-child visits (just so another set of eyes sees them)…and for the occasional broken bone. I do have a house full of boys, after all!!!

  11. We do not take vitamins either. I have plenty of x-rays of them floating in people not digested. We do take a fruit and veggie supplement Juice Plus. Amazing! Just whole food in a capsule or chewable. I love it because it is backed by so much research. Thanks for posting!

  12. In France we mostly don’t take vitamins. I should take some because of my hair loss (after pregnancy) but i don’t trust that much in pharmaceuticals (and afraid of cancer too)… I’m waiting for things to go back normal :)

    1. Can’t blame you for being leery of taking pharmaceuticals. I try to get the bulk of my good health and good nutrition from a nourishing whole foods diet. I try to take as little as possible of pharmaceuticals. And the supplements I take are made from Whole foods rather than synthesized in a laboratory.

    2. Oops, I meant to mention in my other reply, have you tried coconut oil for your hair? Coconut oil has excellent health benefits if you cook with it or if you take it raw. It is also beneficial as a topic application to the skin and hair. When I use it topically I only use a very small amount but there really seems to be noticeable benefit.

      I have heard people mention that they put coconut oil in the hair and then have a hard time washing it all out. My thought on this is that they need to cut down on the amount. I generally mix a few drops of essential oil into a very small container of coconut oil and use that after a wash as a leave in and of course it has to be a very tiny amount to do that. Having 4 ounces or so prepared with the essential oil and left in the bathroom for my skin and hair last me a really long time.

      Of course I’m sure my Green Pastures cod liver oil is also really good for my skin and hair!

  13. I take a prenatal and iron. I’m tying to get pregnant, which I might be after a recent miscarriage!, and I’ve always been anemic. Even my primary doc, who’s all about treating things as naturally as possible, stresses a prenatal.

    1. The Green Pastures cod liver oil is really good for a boost to the reproductive system and the health of future children and if the flavor is a no-g0 for you they make a capsule supplement of it. Also the skate liver oil would be good too, but I don’t remember if they make a capsule version off the top of my head.

      Back in the days that I was having my children, especially my first, my diet and the supplements I took were just not good enough and unfortunately it had an effect on the situation. Now, 20 years later, I am thankful to have learned so much in the mean time to help my kids get their bodies into tip top shape to give the best start possible to their kids when they have them. We try to use supplements that are derived from whole foods, Garden of Life brand for example, rather than made in a lab. I give them those Green pastures supplements because they are the only company I have found that is processing the oils in the way that older cultures who used them to great effect processed them. :)

  14. Is there any children’s vitamin with out a ton of sugar? The yummi bears suggested contain 4 grams of sugar per serving, that’s nearly 1 teaspoon (4.6 g per teaspoon)! I hate to waste 1/3 of my girls’ daily allowance of added sugars on vitamins.

    Also, for those talking about giving liquid vitamin D supplements to their children/family, what form/brand are you using? I am only familiar with the infant drops.

  15. Hello!

    I take juice plus. I love it. I eat more vegetables more than ever and fruit too as well. If you really want to know more about juice plus +.

    the wesbsite: Juiceplus.com

  16. I take probiotic supplements from Garden of Life and cod liver oil from Green Pastures, just two more companies that are doing a far better job than the supplement industry on the whole appears to be doing.

  17. I would first like to thank Lisa for this fantastic blog! It motivates so many people to choose whole foods, and shows us that it is attainable! This post is a great forum for sharing what works for families and individuals, and I’m enjoying hearing all of the positive accolades for different products. My family personally has been taking JuicePlus+ for the last 6 years, and I only considered it because of the clinical research that backs it up. There are literally almost 30 peer-reviewed studies from leading hospitals and universities. The people knocking the product, obviously haven’t actually read the research. I have a BS in Health Promotion, and a MS in Family Support and Parenting Education. During my Master’s degree program I learned a lot about different parenting experts and their practices, including Dr. Sears. When I found out Dr. Sears recommends the product I had to learn more! After reading the research, I wouldn’t have it any other way for my family. Best of luck to all on finding what is right for yours!

  18. I was just wondering if anyone knows of any uk based blogs or sites? I love this site but am interested in if there is much difference between US and UK advice/products. Thanks x

  19. So, what about prenatal vitamins? My doctor was adamant about their importance but I have no idea how to tell what is in them and if there are fillers, etc.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Sara. I think they are important and would follow your doctor’s recommendation. I don’t have a specific brand to recommend, but, you may want to scan the comments as I think several readers left suggestions. Jill

  20. It is a big mistake for anyone not to take a green drink, fish oil, and probiotics everyday. Everyone would benefits tremendously by doing so.

  21. This is an excellent blog and Lisa does a wonderful job. She deserves lots of praise for her contributions on this blog. That being said, I think it is a mistake to believe one can get the nutrition they need from their diet. Unless of course you grow all your own food organically. For 99.99 percent of us this will never happen. The soil our food is grown on is very very mineral deficient. As soon as a plant is pulled from the ground it starts losing its nutritional value. Then is is shipped across the country(more time goes by as it continues losing nutrition), then it sits in a warehouse, finally it’s delivered to the grocery store where it sits, still losing nutritional value. By the time you eat it–good luck getting adequate nutrition from your food. I believe vitamins are wonderful, as are supplements like barley grass or wheatgrass powders or pills, spirulina and chlorella.

  22. My 4 yr old son takes the Yummy Bear Organics, and I can tell you we have noticed a huge decrease in colds/viruses in our house. He has always eaten very well, but was getting alot of colds which were leading to ear infections. We started the vitamins last December and he has been sick only once since then and that was when we had run out and I bought a small bottle of the Whole Foods ones to “get us by”. They went in the trash as soon as I was able to get another bottle of the Yummy Bears.

    I myself do not take any daily vits, but if I could find a good one WITH iron that didn’t upset my stomach I probably would! I have always been slightly anemic, and getting “enough” iron in my diet is just difficult at times.

  23. You will discover numerous of blogging and content pieces in existence about this topic, however, you have harnessed another section in the issue. This is fine content thankyou for sharing it.

  24. I disagree that all HCPs (health care providers) are in it to prescribe medications or trained to interfere. In my experience, there are many times when diet, exercise and lifestyle changes are recommended. But, people, in general often want a quick fix and some pill or medicine to “fix” the problem. I firmly believe that our country as a whole requires a mindset change…

    Vitamins are drugs, herbs are drugs, chemically manufactured medicines are drugs, inhalants (spray paint and the like) are drugs… And ANYTHING that we put in our bodies can potentially change it… For better or for worse. That is why it is so important to be completely honest with our HCPs and ourselves, and to follow up regularly.

      1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

        Hi Erin. I would take a look through the comments – some other readers have left some suggestions for pre-natals. Jill

  25. For me i’m 20 and i’m a flintestion gummies girl mainy because they taste decent and help me get some vitmans despite the fact i’m a bit of a junkfood junkie Ps im not a doctor the screen name comes from way to much traumacenter games and pokemon lol :p

  26. I have noted that those who take vitamins, especially from MLM type companies, sound like they have been sold. Sure, we may not get everything from our diets, but I believe with the wide variety available to us, we get enough. Contrary to what some people may think, more isn’t better. In our family, we treat ANY and ALL supplements as drugs, I don’t care what the manufacturer says. We don’t believe this intervention is necessary unless there is a diagnosis of a medical problem. Otherwise, eat well, avoid addictive substances, exercise and play outside and you and your children will be better off, regardless of what those trying to profit off of fear, insecurity, and ignorance. I have twelve children and did not take a multivitamin because it made me sick. I ate lots of fruits and veggies and I diet high in folic acid and iron and all my babies were healthy. Now there is evidence that these vitamins can actually contribute to fetal defects. Doctors, herbalists and others in the health care industry are trained to interfere when sometimes the best thimg to do is leave it alone.

  27. I have never been one to take a vitamin. If I eat a healthy balanced diet, I should get all of the vitamins I need. I think people tend to use vitamins as an excuse to eat junk because they are fooling themselves into thinking that they are getting the nutrition they need through a pill.
    I am however taking a vitamin right now because I’m pregnant. I am only taking one to keep my doctor off my back though. And to be honest, I am really horrible about remembering to take it!

  28. I think vitamins are a waste of money. It is easy to get the vitamins and nutrients we need daily without a lot of fuss. Eat healthy and exercise. And do not complicate it. :-) That is what our family does.

  29. In addition to being an ND, I am a rep in South/Central Texas for Nutraceutical: the parent company for Solaray, KAL, Nature’s Life, Herbs for Kids, PIONEER, LifeTime, etc. Examples of other worthwhile brands are Bluebonnet, Nature’s Plus, Garden Of Life, Rainbow, Jarrow. Find a local, independent health store that has been in business for years. The owner will have more knowledge about vitamins than anyone else you talk to -that experienced store owner has your best interest at heart. They aren’t tied to one company – they’ll help you find what you need, and be there for you for any health issues you want to solve nutritionally. Don’t shop for vitamins at Walmart, or Target or the grocery store – unless the grocery store has a good vitamin section – like HEB Plus or Central Market in Texas – but even there you miss out on the expertise of that independent health store. . Avoid paying the high price for MLM products. They aren’t bad, there just isn’t anything unique or extraordinary about them. You can find products similar to Juice Plus and Usana at your local HFS. If you don’t have a HFS near you, go to iHerb.com. NatureMade and NOW are not reputable brands, they don’t meet label claim. No agency regulates vitamins, so companies can put USP on the label all they want, but it doesn’t make it true, and it doesn’t mean anything. “Pharmaceutical Grade” means nothing. Don’t buy gummies. The dentist’s are correct – they usually have too much sugar and can create tooth decay. Look for sugar free – sweetened with Stevia or Xylitol. Our teen takes a multi for teens, and extra C, our 5 year takes no multi, but extra C and extra Cal/Mag + D because we don’t drink cow’s milk.

    1. This is not good advice. The health store is in business to sell product, not to get you healthy. The research is available for anyone to know what is best.

      “so companies can put USP on the label all they want, but it doesn’t make it true, and it doesn’t mean anything.”

      Your statement is untrue. If a bottle has USP on it it means it is USP Verified. It’s voluntary but is indeed verified to comply with USP guidelines and random off the shelf testing occurs after the verification.

  30. Thankyou! I completely agree with you! I had a very weak immune system for years catching a 2 week cold from being around anyone who was sick. I took vitamins and nothing worked. ( I do believe in taking supplements for specific issues just not this daily vitamin business). The only think that worked back then was doing juicing to finally get rid of my stubborn colds.

    Fast forward to now. We eat very low sugar and just healthier and I haven’t had one cold since January 15 when I started this lifestyle. Research shows that viruses feed on sugar. There was a 60 minutes show a few months ago about sugar and researchers there were studying how they believe sugar feeds tumors. And that’s not even taking all the processed stuff, chemicals, lack of nutrition into consideration.

    It’s amazing how proper nutrition not only taste better but it just builds your body’s defenses naturally. I’m really looking forward to seeing how I make out this flu season.

  31. Our primary care DR, son’s pediatritian & dentist have all repeatedly said to avoid any kind of ‘gummy’ vitamin. They all leave a tooth decaying residue that can not be removed by at home brushing. Stick to chewable types.

  32. I think it’s worth mentioning that the Nutrisearch Comparative Guide was put out by someone with a vested interest in Usana. So, it’s not an objective source. There is currently legal action pending against them for some of the claims they make about other companies.

    1. This sounds like it is coming from a distributor of a poorly ranked product in the Nutrisearch Comparative Guide. Please share your proof of the current legal action pending against them.

  33. I agree it is difficult to get enough nutrients, especially when trying to eat locally and seasonally. Plus, we live in a northern climate, so my girl’s pediatrician recommends a vitamin D supplement. I knew enough to buy a gummy multi-vitamin without artificial colors or flavors. Though I’m not quite sure of its effectiveness. Unfortunately, with 3 girls, the better vitamins are are too expensive. I take a multi-vitamin and fish oil for omega 3 as I don’t like fish. I can’t wait to check out the vitamin guide mentioned by previous posters.

    1. Kristin, I urge you to do your research as there is a lot of misinformation. I am simply amazed at how many product commercials are happening on these comments. It’s easy to see the ones who are selling their supplements as they do a great job of regurgitating marketing info. I hate to say that most of these brands do not rank very high in third party tests. If you need help I can have one of our nutritionists on my team help you. We have partnerships with 9 of the top rated pharmaceutical grade supplement manufacturers so you can be certain our opinion is well researched and unbiased. We will not charge any fees for services. Email me at my personal address: jostalli(at)hotmail(dot)com

  34. My kids take the Yummy Bears Organic vitamins and they like them. Right now I buy Naturemade mostly for myself but I make sure it’s been verified, I think it says USP, and it means the vitamin is verified to have the ingredients in it that it claims to have.