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 given my 7 year old a DHA supplement for years now. We’ve been giving him Smarty Pants mulit-vitamin with Omega 3.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. Since vitamins aren’t really our thing, we do not familiarize ourselves with details about various brands.

  2. I look for 2 things in vitamins for my kids: Iron and Iodine (important for brain growth and many other things). But I’ve been struggling with finding vitamins that have those two things and taste good to my kids!

    1. My grandkids take gummies that are just concentrated fruits and vegetables, backed by research and NSF certified. Many benefits. G

  3. Nobody in my family is taking multivitamins, since the supplement industry in the USA is not backed in science. Instead of synthetic multivitamins I have found a way to get more fruits and vegetables in our diet in the form of a capsule or a gummy and this is backed by 35 research studies! it has changed my families health picture!

    1. Hi Annette, We do the same also. So grateful for whole foods and the security and confidence from the 35+ medical research studies. All documenting importance of a lifestyle flooded with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. It truly is so simple to help bride the gaps for all ages. ;-)

  4. As a dietitian and a researcher, I would not typically recommend that children need multivitamins. As a Canadian, I would suggest that parents and children both use vitamin D (like D-drops!) during the 8 months of the year we do not get enough sun (not a the proper angle) to manufacture vitamin D in our skin.
    If your diet is healthy and your children eat a variety of foods, in truth they do not require a supplement. However, if you are raising your child as a vegetarian or vegan then you will need to choose foods that are fortified with iron and vitamin B12 as the iron in plant foods is harder to absorb and B12 is only found naturally in animal-based foods. you may also need to give them an omega-3 supplement containing DHA/EPA as well to promote healthy brain development.

  5. I have read and heard functional medicine doctors encourage certain vitamins and supplements for the prevention or treatment of chronic disease and even cancer….with proper doses of Vitamin D3 specifically being reported as critical to good health. Various reasons have been sited in the literature…but for one, the nutrient levels in our food (including whole foods) has been significantly depleted over the years.

  6. I only trust Shaklee when it comes to supplements. They do their research. You can take a look at see.myshaklee.com

  7. I strongly believe in giving my kids a good daily multivitamin. I give them this one http://www.amztk.com/chewable-multivitamin and they absolutely love the taste of it. The quality and ingredient content is great and it’s a brand that I really trust. It is all natural with no additives in it. I would recommend this to anyone looking to give their kids a real good quality great tasting multivitamin.

  8. I take a regular box box gummy multi vitamin. I am newer to learning about health related topics, so I”m not sure what’s good, what’s not. Anyways I have noticed the vitamins help my nails especially. My nails used to fall apart and chip off. I used to take vitamins individually, however I would get acid reflux and nausea associated with it.
    ****My mom has been taking calcium supplements for years with her coffee every morning, and she found out she had been receiving no benefit from that because the coffee and the calcium have a chemical reaction to each other.

  9. I’d love to know what vitamin D product you decided on. I usually supplement myself and my children with vitamin C and Vitamin D throughout cold and flu season.

  10. While you are correct that most vitamins don’t work, UC Berkeley did a comparative study of people who used the Shaklee food supplements for 20 years or more with their data base of thousands of people that they have been studying for the government for many years.

    When they asked for volunteers for the study they had more than a thousand people volunteer. They selected almost 300 that they could match up scientifically and they concluded that Shaklee people were far more healthy than either the group who took vitamins for the same 20 years and people who took no vitamins in that time. You can see the results for yourself at http://landmarkstudy.com/.

    Additionally, no other company is allowed to say in writing that they have the “best, most comprehensive nutrition program in the world”. Shaklee is allowed to make that statement.

    The average adult over 65 years old, by the way, uses 19 different medications during the year and 8 to 10 different ones every month. The average person over 65 using the Shaklee supplements averages .6 prescriptions a year.

    One of your recommended children’s vitamins does not insure that what is in the bottle matches the quantity on the label. That is extremely irresponsible.

    1. I have been using Shaklee vitamins since before I was born. My mom is a healthy 65 year old type 1 diabetic on no prescriptions whatsoever- other than necessary insulin of course. We firmly believe in Shaklee supplement effectiveness and the extensive research poured into the whole food products. It takes a lot for a company to be so overly responsible in an industry that isn’t even regulated by the FDA. Check out their supplements- and their green cleaning products have completely eliminated chemicals from our home.

  11. Just a note: gummy vitamins (or gummy anything) stick in/on teeth. Dentists tell us to avoid the sticky chewy vitamins to save our teeth. Animal Parade Vitamins or Thompson children’s multi vitamin are two that my kids like and have no food coloring or added sugars.

    1. I agree! My pediatrician recommended to stay away from gummy vitamins for that very reason, and because she said they “spray” the vitamins on. Since I can’t afford the amazing, organic vitamins that I really want…I go for a happy-medium. I want a vitamin with no artificial colors and no added sugars. Right now my daughter takes the chewable kind from Trader Joe’s, and I also like the Nature’s First vitamin lin at Target.

  12. We take Juice Plus, fruit, veggie, and berry blends. They have a food label, not a supplement label and there are over 30 research studies showing they are %100 available and how they help your immune system, cardiovascular wellness, gum health, etc!! NONE BETTER OUT THERE BECAUSE THEY ARE FOOD, NOT VITAMINS.

  13. You forgot to mention Nutrilite; the worlds leading organic, plant-based vitamin company. If you try them, you can’t deny that they don’t work with the results you feel! There’s many demos you can do with the vitamins, proving their efficiency of how they break down into your body. Their high standards and farming methods, with no middle man, is second to none. Amazing company.

  14. I firmly believe that you cannot get all your vitamins and nutrients from the food you eat. Your plants can’t absorb what isn’t in the soil and they can’t give us nutrients they don’t have. In order to get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrition our bodies need we will need to supplement. Dr. Wallach does an excellent job talking about this in his Dead Doctors Don’t Lie recording.https://m.soundcloud.com/dddl/dddl There are also ways to test to see if you are deficient in your vitamins. You can do bloodwork, hair analysis, etc. Nutrient deficiencies are the cause of many diseases. I’d much rather pay for expensive vitamins as an insurance to keep me from getting sick than assume that a whole foods diet without supplementation will keep me healthy and give me all the nutrion/vitamins I need. Women should be taking suppleness before pregnancy, during pregnancy and after for the health of them and their baby. Check out http://www.miakeriann.youngevity.com for more information.

  15. We use Juice Plus+ capsules (adults) and gummies (kids). I love that it’s 1) real fruits/veggies that are ground up, gently dehydrated and powered into a capsule/gummie, 2) there are 35+ actual “gold standard” research studies done by leading hospitals/universities showing our bodies are actually absorbing it and that it’s making a difference on a cellular level, 3) it has a food/nutrition label rather than a supplement label, and 4) has 3rd-party certification from NSF.
    Happy to answer questions or provide more info for those that want to look into it: realfoodeater.com

  16. I used to believe that my kids didn’t need vitamins since they eat vegetables and fruits very well. I garden organically and make sure they eat at least one fresh item a day. Then I received a diploma in Nutrition Therapy and realized my mistake. There is no way anyone can get everything they need from diet alone. We simply can`t eat that much in a day. Also, we eat very seasonably here since I garden so we tend to serve whatever is growing that day which limits vitamins. I know a lot of vitamins are junk. I switched to a food based vitamin called Rainbow Light. I feel better knowing that we have the building blocks we need for all our body functions. Food based are much better than chemical based. I know people have survived on a seasonal diet for years with no.problems, but I also know food it not as vitamin rich as it once was. We are a nation of malnourished, sometimes, overweight people.

  17. I love you blog and recommendation for meal planning, especially the lunches! You are a great resource to me! Thanks you! I agree about your position on vitamins, we quite them about a year ago. Our family tries to eat as many whole foods as possible. But to bridge the gap, what I have discovered that works for my family is Juice Plus, whole food nutrition in a caplet or chewable. It is not a vitamin but a variety of fruits and vegetables NSF certified pick at their peak ripeness. It has defiantly boosted my families immune system and resolve many of our health issues. Backed by published third party research studies, Juice Plus has been a game changer for us, it just makes sense!

  18. I think Whole Earth and Sea whole food vitamins may be better than Dr. Moranda, many of his ingredients in list are sourced in China and are not organic. Whole Earth and Sea whole food multivitamins are based in British Columbia (Canada) and 100 percent organic. This farm uses nutrient-dense plants (raw) to create a whole food supplement. (Not Juice Plus!!) They include many live vegetables, whole fruits, herbal plants, and even sea vegetables (algae) that I know my family is definitely not eating at the table. Might want to be careful not adding supplements to your repertoire, my mom (62) has been eating clean for many years, and she has just been diagnosed with pre-Osteoporosis and needs calcium, extra D3, and others to promote her bone health. As you age, your body needs more of various vitamins, and it’s hard to consume enough. I am trying these whole food tablets out, and I love them. Just thought I’d share.

  19. My daughter is 3. We are dealing with cavities (not just 1 or 2. Im talking 4 front and the lower teeth are starting to show signs. I believe she is lip tied on top) She refuses to eat any type of vegetable. I cook from scratch and try to get the most nutrients into a meal as I can.( I even try to hide veggies in meals, I think she has super taste buds) Thank you for your recommendations on vitamins. I have been trying to heal them with cod liver oil and nutritious food but she is very stubborn. It is stressing me out beyond belief. I feel like a failure because I can’t help her. So thank you again for this!

    1. I have a 3 year old Lil boy with four cavities on his upper top teeth. I am getting ready to start natural therapy with nutrition for him. Have you had luck with the cod oil..raw dairy?

  20. I myself take Garden of Life multivitamins. I was wondering if you had any thoughts of that particular brand or thier kids type vitamins.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Courtney. Sorry, let me revise and say that knowing the details of every brand is not our area of expertise. I do use some Garden of Life products, however, and find them excellent. I eat mostly vegetarian and find their protein powders quite good.

  21. Hi,

    Does any one know or recommend a vitamin that will boost the immune system of an two year old? My daughter was born a few weeks premature and has had a rough start, she is small for her age but my concern is mostly that she picks up viruses more than the average child. Her doctor says that her immune system is weak, but hopefully as she gets older she will grow out of it. She was recommended pedisure for weight gain but it hasn’t help much, So she doctor recommended a Flintstones type vitamin. But I would rather go with a whole food or organic vitamin.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Chantay. We can’t really give advice on supplements/vitamins. I would talk with an integrative, functional, or naturopathic practitioner. They tend to have more relevant nutrition knowledge as well as more focus on preventing disease vs. treating it.

  22. We love that our kids (and us as well) take Juice Plus. It’s whole food based nutrition in a capsule or chewable. Check out my website for more information or feel free to shoot me an email. Happy to talk to you more about the product!

  23. How do you recommend additional iron for a 2 year old. Doctor recommended a multivitamin, but they are loaded with sugar! I don’t think he needs a vitamin…but he’s not willing to eat leafy greens..

  24. I was wondering if you had an opinion on prenatal vitamins? Are they necessary when you are trying to get pregnant and would you suggest any particular brands? Thanks!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Amanda. If you would like an alternative view regarding prenatals, talk to a natuopathic or integrative physician. They are far more likely to know the ins and outs of nutrition. ~Amy

  25. In a perfect world we would all consume our vitamins by eating real food. Today, this is not possible because land has been depleted and the food chain has been destroyed in various ways. Studies show that fifty years ago crops yielded 80% more nutrition than they do today. And yes, most vitamins go straight through the body without being absorbed. The Discovery Channel did a documentary in 2006 about an ORGANIC WHOLE FOOD called Moringa Oliefera. It showed how Moringa is saving lives in third-world countries.
    Many reputable entities including universities list their peer review medical studies on Moringa at http://www.pubmed.gov. One interesting cancer article is:
    Moringa grows well in dry, arid places. With about 28 varieties, grown in different places, with various types of soil and all processed differently, not all Moringa is the same. The most nutrient-dense Moringa must come from the right source where it is shade-dried in order to keep the nutrients intact.
    I believe Zija International is the company that produces the cleanest, most pure, 100% ready-cell, bio-available, completely absorbable Moringa. With the utmost care in production, they have gone as far as buying specific plantations in northern India where the soil is continually evaluated. They also take special care to shade dry it in order to insure that nutrients aren’t lost. The founder of Zija International, Kenneth Brailsford, is known as the “father of herbal encapsulation.” He was happily retired when he saw the documentary on the Discovery Channel and says he was “spiritually-led” to bring Moringa to the masses. He didn’t need the money, as he was already successfully retired. For him it was about saving people’s lives. If you want more info or to just to order, email: dahliahgonzales@yahoo.com