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. JUICE PLUS!!! It is NOT a supplement or vitamin but whole food nutrition from 17 different fruits, veggies and whole grains. It is not meant to replace these in your diet but to bridge the gap of what you eat and what you NEED on a daily basis (especially when you have a picky eater on your hands)! My girls were terribly sick for the first few years of their lives (numerous pneumonia, meningitis, autoimmune disease, etc). Once we started juice plus, they are the healthiest around with ROCK STAR immune systems. Illness free for 2 years (not a single fever or missed school day)!!!! They fight EVERYTHING off! It is the most researched nutritional product in the world with over 28 published peer reviewed studies demonstrating the beneficial impact and bioavailability. IT IS INCREDIBLE AND I highly recommend it not only as a mom, but as a pediatric OT! IT has changed our lives :-)

    1. I agree with you on Juice Plus! It has changed our lives. We used to get sick all of the time and now we are healthy and feel great! Even when there is an illness outbreak at school, we all stay healthy! Great for adults and kids!

      1. I 100% agree! Juice Plus+ is an amazing product! I have been taking JP+ for 14 years and never missed a class in college due to illness, have yet to miss a day of work and who doesn’t love whole food nutrition on this site? One of the greatest parts of the product is how much research has been done. I do not take a multi-vitamin, and completely agree that vitamins and nutrients should come from your diet, but we all have days where we don’t get the 9-11 servings (we should actually be eating even MORE than that, and 9-11 can be hard!) and anything that can help boost my immune system, I’m going to do. I trust the research in Juice Plus, and it has changed my brothers’ (who were chronically sick forEVER) and my life.

      2. OH! And Juice Plus has a set of ‘kid’ gummies, which are so tasy my husband opted to take those instead of the regular pill form.

  2. Dr. Shaklee founded natural nutrition. All other companies followed suit. Shaklee it is! I trust this company!

  3. My kids take Garden of Life Vitamin Code Kids. It is a whole food multivitamin. I gotta say though, the kids don’t really love the taste, but they take them anyway. We also use Barleans omega fish oil (which they do love) and Garden of Life Raw Probiotics for kids which I mix into their Kefir.

  4. My DTR gets vitamin code chewable bears they are mostly organic and she loves them. She was getting sick a lot so wanted something to boost her immune system she eats well but not as many veggies as fruits on a daily basis. it is whole foods not synthetic chemicals so I feel comfortable giving it to her and I take vit code one a day for women as well.

  5. Melaleuca – patented absorption process. we use the vitamins and supplements & my son & husband love our new liquid smoothie Omega 3 with no fishy aftertaste. so glad to get those Omegas in our bodies for so many reasons!!

  6. Barleans omega fish oil! My kids don’t eat a lot of fish and this stuff taste o good that they ask for it!

  7. Love your blog, but have to say that I’m standing by our fermented cod liver oil supplement. Believe me, I wish I could forgo spending the $$$ on a supplement and put it towards our organic/pastured/grass-fed foods but after skipping our daily FCLO supplement for a month (out of town) I noticed a big difference in how I felt. I also know how great it is for my children. We will continue to purchase that supplement for our family, despite drinking our fermented raw goat’s milk, eating pastured eggs and grass-fed beef, and daily fruit/veggie smoothies and salads and sides.

  8. I’ve never done extensive research, but I’ve just never felt the need to give my kids vitamins so I don’t.

    Funny story about me tho. I recently became a vegetarian, and about 1 week in I couldn’t figure out why I was getting such bad headaches! I was eating great, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, the works. Then I realized that I hadn’t, um, spent any lengthy time in the bathroom in a while. With all my healthy eating, I was getting TOO MUCH iron! Despite not eating meat!

    So I stopped taking my multi-vitamin. Then pooped 5 times in 1 day and felt like a new woman. :)

    Now I just take vitamin B12, since that’s the only one I need that’s found naturally in meat only.

  9. I have always been torn about whether or not to give my kids vitamins. I am really concerned about fluoride. We do not have fluoride in our water system, so the pediatrician prescribes vitamins that contain fluoride. I have researched and found so many conflicting answers about fluoride in children. Do you give your children a fluoride supplement?

    1. We do not give fluoride supplements. We do use fluoride toothpaste and drink filtered tapwater though. I think the natural living community is pretty divided on the topic of fluoride!

  10. Just a note… My dentist said absolutely NO gummy vitamins for the kids. They stick in their teeth for hours and cause decay.

  11. We use the vitamins and supplements from Melaleuca. They absorb well into the body and is processed as completely as possible. Along with a healthy diet of whole and organic foods, these help keep my family healthy.

  12. DAILY PROBIOTICS are also essential to long term health, unless your family is eating plenty of properly made fermented foods the way people did many years ago.

    There is an epidemic of unbalanced gut flora which contributes to numerous health problems. Most babies are born with unbalanced gut flora (from their mother) and too low vitamin D levels, and some studies show a possible link to increased risk of Autism due to both of these deficiencies. Yes infants should be given vitamin D3 and Probiotics BUT DO NOT GIVE TO INFANTS WITHOUT CONSULTING A DOCTOR FOR BRANDS AND DOSING for your particular baby, and don’t give up if your pediatrician doesn’t know or care. Find a doctor who does, or a LICENSED NUTRITIONIST (not a dietician unless the dietician has done additional training and research).

    Our Licensed Nutritionist has kept us healthier for many years.

  13. THE LARGE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE DEFICIENT in Vitamin D, Magnesium and Iodine to name a few and we cannot get enough from food…

    Vitamin D blood serum levels of 30-70 are considered “normal” but only serum levels at the higher end, around 60-70 help the immune system and help prevent disease including cancer. When I asked my doctor to include the vitamin D test in my annual labs, she said I needed a “diagnosis” FIRST. Sorry but conventional medicine is a for-profit disease business, not true prevention. Drug companies and their lobbyists are anti-supplement, they make less money on drugs if you stay healthier. Most adults and kids should take Vitamin D3 (the real kind we get from sunshine) not D2. 2,000 IU of D3 daily is safe for kids, you can research this, most adults need more to get serum levels up to the high end of normal range.

    Iodine deficiency contributes to thyroid cancer which Dr. Oz says is the fastest increasing cancer in women. (partly due to radiation of the thyroid during mammograms.)

    A great book to read is UltraPrevention by Mark Hyman who is one of very few doctors that Dr. Oz says he would take his own family to.

    Thank you for your site!

  14. Do you have any recommendations for an aspirin without additives? Seems like vitamins aren’t the only pills loaded with junk. Thanks!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Anne. I apologize but we really can’t give advice on medications. Outside of this post, drugstore items have not been something we weigh in on but I’m sure a pharmacist could help you out. ~Amy

  15. My daughter alternates between Animal Parade and Natures Plus Love Bites, depending on which one is available at our health food store. I don’t give her one every day, usually every 2-3 days she gets one. We eat a very healthy plant based vegetarian diet so I know that she is, for the most part getting the right amount of vitamins, but I do worry!!

  16. I can only speak from personal experience, but my family has never taken vitamin supplements and we are all very healthy. My family tends to live for quite a long time (all the women have lived to be 100 or more). I attribute this longevity to good wholesome food, and letting the body naturally heal itself when ill to build up the immune system. We also try to eat a lot of fish (watching out for mercury of course) because of all the positive benefits of fish oil – the more fish I eat the better my (acne-prone) skin is.

  17. I am a nutritionist. I believed in food supplements, but all the recent studies prove that they do not work or that they dangerous for our health (premature death, cancer, cardiovascular disease). People do not need to take vitamins in a pill. Human beings evolved to take vitamins with their food. Societies who live long like Okinawa do not take vitamins. They live longer, because they eat healthy. Buy organic foods, not supplements. And kids do not need supplements, just food!

    1. Marios,
      What studies are you referring to that “prove [supplements] do not work or that they’re dangerous”.
      I’m aware of a study using a bad quality genetically engineered supplement that was in fact dangerous (I don’t remember but it may have been a bad vitamin E). Also vitamin C is often made from GMO corn. So it’s very important to look for quality supplements and do your homework. But your blanket statements against vitamins are wrong and misleading. Many vitamins and other supplements help save lives and improve quality of life.

    2. It was a vitamin E study that caused a health problem in mice, but the study did NOT publish the fact that they used synthetic genetically engineered vitamin E. Always check who funded a study. Big Pharma funded this misleading vitamin E study, they can afford to spend big bucks protecting their enormous profits.

  18. I wish I could find a vitamin for my son without any syrup or sugar of any kind. I can’t but still feel it is better for him to have them and since they are given in such small amounts, I do feel the benefits out weight the cons.

    I use Nature’s Sunshine ‘sunshine Heros’ multiple vitamin and mineral vitamins as well as their omega 3 with DHA. They also use organic ingredients and when I did a side by side comparison, they offer more vitamins on almost every line than the yummi bears.

    We all eat organic, whole foods. We keep away from refined, processed foods. We make most of his snacks from scratch, grow the fresh vegetables that we’re able to. We really enjoy being pro active and involved in our food choices. Our son is a finicky eater and often drinks more than he eats. We enjoy juicing to help ensure he’s getting the nutrients he needs, even when he will not eat his solids.

    Still, like others have mentioned above, farmers do not allow the soil the time it needs to replenish all it’s nutrients and even when eating whole, organic foods, unfortunately, they are void of many of the health benefits they once had.

    Vitamin supplements are a very personal choice and I think it’s terrific that parents give it serious consideration for their children (and themselves). I feel it’s a better choice for my family to have the supplements. Every family is different.

  19. I agree that eating a real food diet is better than any multivitamin you can buy. But, I have to add that it is INCREDIBLY important for all women of childbearing age to take a folic acid supplement. Many people (estimates are between 10% and 40% of the population) cannot process folic acid efficiently so they need a supplement to help their body absorb enough. (In my case i only absorb around 30% of what I ingest so I have to be consuming at least 3 times the recommended dose to actually absorb the correct amount… which is impossible to do with just food) The vast majority of people do not know they have this condition, so it’s important that all women take a folic acid supplement. My son was born with spina bifida. He is the smartest, most awesome kid I know, but we would be doing the population a great disservice by not spreading the word about the importance of folic acid. Like I said, great post, but I have to spread the word!

    1. Hi! Do you have a recommendation for an all natural healthy folic acid/prenatal vit supplement? We’re hoping to add another sweet baby to our family and we’re making the change to all natural since our first. Thanks!

      1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

        Hi Ashley. That’s exciting. Unfortunately, we cannot make recommendations such as that. You will definitely need to check with your doctor and maybe a naturopath about that. Goodluck. ~Amy

      2. Ashley— were you ever able to find an all natural healthy folic acid/prenatal vit supplement?

      3. Whole Foods carries one, but you have to take it 3 times a day (not so ideal). I found one at Target that also got great reviews, that is once a day, but I can’t remember the name of it (but it’s the only natural one at Target). Hope that helps!

      4. Hi Ashley,

        I just wanted to mention that I have taken Rainbow Light’s Prenatal One vitamin for years now (during pregnancy and breastfeeding) and I love it. You take it just once a day. I always get it from Amazon or drugstore.com, but I think places like Sprouts carry it, too. 100% natural, vegan, no fillers, etc. You can google it and check their website for more info.

      5. They’re called rainbow light. And, you can sometimes find them on sale. My ND likes them, and dissolved it in water to make sure it absorbed well.

  20. I love you, but on this I disagree. We eat very healthy, but our soil and environment is toxic compared to what it was like 75 years ago. There are toxins in beauty and bath products, in pretty much all food served at restaurants and in our water. Whole food is not enough in my opinion to ward off the effects of these. So, I give my kids a whole foods daily vitamin, chlorella (love it for cancer prevention),elderberry to prevent the flu, grapeseed extract and a probiotic. I also make medicinal tinctures from herbs I grow.

  21. I enjoy reading your blog, but I am curious about the fact that you fully acknowledge not taking vitamins, but then go to say which vitamins are “best”. On what are you basing your recommendations? Do you have experience in science or research that gives you the background and fund of knowledge to evaluate and recommend these brands?

    1. Just like with food we define the “best” vitamins as those having the cleanest ingredients (i.e. no artificial dyes or sweeteners), which are clearly published by the vitamin company for anyone to see.

      1. So in other words you have no expertise that qualifies you to make recommendations. You are choosing to take the word of the vitamin company, which may or may not be truthful. That certainly puts your recommendations in another light for me. Thanks for your honest reply.

      2. Hi Paula,

        Something that I’ve learned over the years is that a person doesn’t need a degree or “credentials” in order to speak intelligently about a topic. They just need to be knowledgeable and that knowledge can come from a variety of sources. Also, having a degree or credentials doesn’t make anyone smarter. I’m not saying this as a slight with anyone with a degree, but just addressing your comment.

      3. PS And I don’t know if Lisa holds a degree or not which isn’t the point but just wanted to clarify.

  22. I don’t take vitamins because it’s very hard to find supplements that do not contain iron. NO ONE should be taking an iron supplement without first having their doctor run full iron panels (not just a “CBC”) and preferably a genetic test for hemochromatosis. Genetic Hemochromatosis is the most common genetic disorder in this country and the vast majority of people who have it do not know. I guarantee that you know someone who died of it but was diagnosed with something else (the first organs to go: “enlarged heart” “cirrosis of the liver” “pancreatic failure/diabetes” “fast metastasizing cancers”) For my entire childhood my mother was literally poisoning me and my brother with multivitamins containing iron.

  23. I haven’t read through the comments, but I highly recommend cod liver oil for vitamin D deficiency! It also contains vitamins A, E, DHA and EPA, without all of the junk. I also give it to my kids.

  24. We eat our vitamins! We only take supplements when our bodies need additional support. And for us that is barely ever! But we are careful how our food is raised and grown. From not taking things we notice when our bodies need the support days before we actually develop any real symptoms and by then we already warded them off. Its amazing how you can feel and listen to your body when you allow it to communicate.

  25. Love your Blog..a few friends have recommended to me as I try to follow a mostly whole food diet for my family..:)
    Great article especially the importance regard good vitamins..and paying the extra for good one. Lots of vits. have fillers etc… I still try to take supplements as I don’t think the soil our foods are grown in has as much nutrients in it as it did generations ago…
    Thanks for sharing..:)

  26. Excellent article, good read but I might have to disagree with you (respectively) on some points. While eating whole foods (as my family and I do) is excellent and exactly what our body needs there is the fact that our fruits and veggies are deficient. Farmers (even organic farmers) no longer allow their fields to lie fallow every 7th year…this results in the soil being deficient in MANY nutrients. In most soil samples nowadays you can only find 3-10 nutrients in the soil, when there should be 32. Also in response to what you wrote above, “because in controlled studies most supplements “don’t appear to work.” the reason most supplements do not seem to work in controlled studies is because they do not give a high enough dosage to make an actual difference in the individual’s health.
    Thank you for the info on where to get good vitamins! Love your site! :-)

  27. “Nutrilite is the ONLY global vitamin and mineral brand to develop SAFE and EFFECTIVE supplements made from whole PLANT CONCENTRATES – known as PHYTONUTRIENTS – grown, harvested, and processed on its own certified ORGANIC FARMS, setting it apart from other makers of dietary supplements!”

    Thought I’d share this info as well!! Check them out, they are the best, highly recommend! :)

    1. I second you on this…they from organic farms and plant based so you get the phytonutrients which allow you to absorb the vitamins unlike with other synthetic vitamins. Test your vitamins by soaking them overnight in vinegar…you might be surprised at the horrific results…then try that with Nutrilite…

    2. The only people recommending Nutrilite vitamins are AMWAY salespeople. There is no reliable research to back up Amway’s claims about the benefits of phytonutrients or of their grossly overpriced vitamins.

  28. Its true, most vitamins and supplements just go right through you and are useless. The only company I trust is Nutrilite, which is #1 in the world (not an opinion, but a fact). Nutrilite actually created the multi-vitamin, is over 50 years old, never any recalls, and vitamins and supplements are 100% ORGANIC. It is truly the best…they are have everything you need, even children’s vitamins and supplements.

    Take a look, watch you tube videos…they are truly the best in the world, I would never take anything else! :)


  29. Everyone in my family takes Pure Matters Vitamins. My husband and I (of course) take different multis and need other various vitamins. Their kids vitamins are available sugar free and every vitamin and product on their website is all natural. They are very forthcoming with ingredients as well. They offer a new vitamin to try for FREE on Tuesdays, and they package your order like it’s a gift every time! :) purematters.com

  30. I also don’t believe we get everything from even a whole foods diet with the soil so depleted these days, even when eating mostly organics. So my kids take a multi-vitamin (NOW brand) without artificial colors, Carlson Solar Gems vitamin D, and Nordic Naturals fish oil, probably 5 days a week. I personally have autoimmune conditions and must take 8000 IU of vitamin D daily to maintain a level on the low side of “normal”. I also take Special Two by NOW in the V-cap formula (easier to digest than tablets), Green Pastures FCLO/butter oil, and other odds and ends as needed.

  31. I disagree with the statements that say that vitamins are for sure not needed if you have a whole foods diet. Try tracking everything you eat and see if you get 100% daily value of everything, it is very tricky to do so.

  32. We definitely do not have a vitamin deficiency in our country we have a whole food deficiency. That is why we juice weekly if not daily, show the perimeter of the grocery story, eat local, and take Juice Plus.

    1. 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.