The quest to find all-natural vitamins for kids can be overwhelming. There is a lot of information circulating in today’s world that may confuse or even discourage you in the process. To simplify your search, use this guide on what to look for or avoid in all-natural vitamins for kids.
What to avoid: Artificial colors and flavors
Artificial colors and flavors are everywhere when it comes to children’s food and snack items. Unfortunately, this also includes many children’s vitamins on the market today, as artificial colors and flavors are much cheaper to use than natural flavors. What are artificial flavors? Artificial flavors are made from synthetic ingredients that mimic the natural flavors found in foods. If you take a closer look at the nutrition label of your child’s vitamins, you may find they are loaded with these artificial colors and flavors.
Studies have shown that artificial flavors may contribute to behavior and mood disorders in children such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and have potential cancer-causing actions (1).
What to look for: Natural colors and flavors
Always opt for kids’ vitamins that have natural colors and flavors. There should be no use of artificial colors or flavoring in your child’s vitamins. Instead, look for natural ingredients derived from fruit, vegetables, and other plants that are known to be safe for your child’s consumption. A few common natural food colors you may find in all-natural vitamins are turmeric, beetroot, or spirulina.
What to avoid: Artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are chemicals that are added to foods and beverages to sweeten them. Once these chemicals touch your taste buds, they will send a signal to your brain telling you that you are tasting something sweet. A few common artificial sweeteners include: saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium. These artificial sweeteners should all be avoided in your child’s vitamins. It has been found that artificial sweeteners can disrupt your healthy gut bacteria and consequently should not be consumed (2).
What to look for: Natural sweeteners
When looking for all-natural children’s vitamins, natural sweeteners are the best sweeteners. An excellent natural sugar alternative is xylitol. This sweetener is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in small amounts in fruits and vegetables, trees, corncobs, and even the human body. Even though xylitol tastes sweet, studies have shown that it helps prevent tooth decay and remineralizes dental cavities (3). Another wonderful natural sweetener is Stevia. This sweetener is extracted from the leaves of the stevia rebaudiana plant and contains zero calories. You only need a small amount to get a strong sweet taste with this natural sweetener.
What to avoid: Top food allergens
Food allergies are extremely common, especially in children. The top eight food allergens include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy. These foods can cause swelling of the tongue, mouth or face, digestive problems, hives, skin rashes, respiratory problems, and anaphylactic shock. If possible, it is best to avoid these in your child’s vitamins.
What to look for: Allergen-free
Choose nutritional supplements that do not contain any common allergens. It is also best to look for non-GMO ingredients as well. In this way, you can ensure that your children get the best vitamins you can give them.
1. Arnold, L. E., Lofthouse, N., & Hurt, E. (2012, August 3). Artificial Food Colors and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Symptoms: Conclusions to Dye for. Neurotherapeutics. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13311-012-0133-x?hc_location=ufi&error=cooki es_not_supported&code=deb79de2-7631-4208-8d89-ac2c244b844d#citeas.
2. Suez, J., Korem, T., Zeevi, D., Zilberman-Schapira, G., Thaiss, C. A., Maza, O., Israeli, D., Zmora, N., Gilad, S., Weinberger, A., Kuperman, Y., Harmelin, A., Kolodkin-Gal, I., Shapiro, H., Halpern, Z., Segal, E., & Elinav, E. (2014). Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature, 514(7521), 181–186. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13793
3. Nayak, P. A., Nayak, U. A., & Khandelwal, V. (2014). The effect of xylitol on dental caries and oral flora. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dentistry, 6, 89–94. https://doi.org/10.2147/CCIDE.S55761