By Nicole Avena, PhD – Sept – Oct, 2019: Originally posted on Natural Practitioner Magazine.

Dietary supplements play a huge role in the lives of Americans. In fact, according to a 2018 CRN (Council of Responsible Nutrition) Consumer Survey, 75 percent of U.S. adults take supplements.1 For children aged 0-19, it is estimated that about one-third use dietary supplements.2 These numbers, as well as the industry, appear to be increasing each year.

Considering the growing (and immense) popularity of dietary supplements, you’re likely wondering if you should you be giving your children supplements. It makes sense to do so, especially since children need to get all the right vitamins and minerals for proper growth and development, and children’s diets aren’t exactly the best. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), most children in the U.S. do not meet the recommendations of fruit and vegetable intake on a daily basis.3

Despite this widespread use, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) warns that dietary supplements are not intended (nor can they market themselves as such) to treat, diagnose, cure, or alleviate the effects of diseases.4 Yet, many rely on supplements for various reasons.

What Exactly is a Dietary Supplement?

The FDA defines dietary supplements