I think my children have been on vitamins their whole life. From the minute they started in my womb I took my daily prenatal vitamin. As infants they had their breast milk and formula and sometimes liquid vitamin boosters. As toddlers they started taking a multivitamin.
Now my almost-3-year old daughter takes her single multivitamin and two gummie “Immune-C” bears each night and her 6-year-old brother takes two of the multivitamin stars, 2 “Immune-C” bears, 2 gummy calcium bears and 2 gummy Omega-3 DHA vitamins too.
Yes, my little boy takes 6 vitamins every night! Is that too much? My mother thinks so. She thinks I’m crazy. She says I grew up just fine without any vitamins. While I agree, I told her to just imagine how much better off I might be had I taken some “extras” here and there.
Why does he take so many, you ask? Well, we are vegetarian and he is a 6-year-old boy. I think the multivitamin is important to make sure his growing body gets all the things it needs every single day, even on the days when we don’t get to eat a wholesome family dinner. The vitamin C hopefully boosts him a bit against whatever colds and germs are flying around his school – and the same is true for my lovely daughter who is in preschool. A little extra vitamin C, I hope, helps them fight off the little things.
As for the calcium, my son broke his arm last spring and ever since then I’ve given him this calcium supplement to make sure the bones grow back as strong as possible. He drinks plenty of milk and gets plenty of calcium from other sources, but the extra boost can’t hurt. Plus he has new teeth growing and I know calcium is critical to building strong teeth. From my experience our teeth are prone to easy damage. Hopefully the extra calcium gives him stronger teeth and bones, things that will fortify him as a strong man one day.
Then there’s the Omega-3 DHA gummies that I added to his routine at the beginning of the school year. I read a few articles that said there might be a connection between added Omega-3s and children, especially boys, being able to focus better at school work and those sort of tasks. Since he’s the youngest in his class and I want to make sure he is equipped to excel at his schoolwork, I give him the Omega-3 DHA. My husband, who doesn’t take any vitamins himself and doesn’t typically believe in these kinds of things, now admits, 6 months later, that he thinks the Omega-3s have been working. Since he started the school year slightly below the curve with his reading ability and now he’s almost at a 3rd grade level – while only being halfway through 1st grade! I think even his school teacher might agree the Omega-3s might have merit.
So is it too much? I don’t think so. Each item has a specific purpose. I try to source relatively good quality vitamins for them (no Flintstones vitamins at our house) and I do the same for myself. I personally take a daily multivitamin, an iron supplement, 2 cranberry pills, two vitamin C gummies and 2 calcium gummies. I’m also trying BioSil this month to boost the health of my hair, skin and nails as I get closer to 40. Finally, since I’ve been on four different courses of antibiotics for the past 6 weeks, I’ve also added a probiotic to my regime, to keep things balanced as best I can. It’s a lot of pills to remember each night, but I’m a big fan of helping my body – and my kids’ bodies – function their best.
We eat well each day. Not too much processed junk food. (Some, because, heck, they are kids and should enjoy some fun stuff sometimes!) We eat lots of organic produce and dairy, paired with vegetarian meat replacements packed with soy or protein or wheat gluten – whatever works. Since we can’t eat hamburgers or fried chicken and my son has food allergies that make us avoid most Asian dishes, we don’t stop off at McDonald’s or KFC or Panda Express type places. Our big weakness is Chipotle. All of that said, I think I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing for my kids nutritionally, but I’m also convinced that vitamins can and do help. They help meet any voids, fill in any gaps and cover all our bases. I want my kids to grow up as strong and healthy as possible. That’s why we’re part of what I’m calling my “Vitamin Generation.”