When it comes to a children’s multi-vitamin most people want the added assurance that their child is filling the nutritional gaps with a quality supplement. When faced with the decision, what do you choose, what should you look for!? First and foremost try and stay away from drug store brands, there are often many fillers such as artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and even sugar packed into these vitamins that you would be better off without. The next thing you should look at is allergens, is the vitamin free of ingredients that are problematic for your child. Most high quality brands are often free from gluten, soy, corn, dairy, and artificial sweeteners.
With that said, how do you know what IS a good brand? Looking for a professional or pharmaceutical grade supplement will often steer you in the right direction. The quality of most professional lines are often free of additives and allergens. In order to find a good brand you may have to resort to ordering online if you live in a smaller city or town. There are some supplements that I use that I have to order from the United States, just a personal choice.
There are so many choices, what do you look for –
One of the fastest ways I use to figure out if a brand is great or not is the form of vitamins and minerals they use. This tells me straight away if they are cutting costs buy using cheaper forms of nutrients. Even a pharmaceutical grade vitamin company can use low quality ingredients. I’ve seen it happen and have been quite surprised and disappointed to notice it when I have looked at the back of the label. Buyer beware, do your research…I rarely just buy a supplement without looking into it first unless its a trusted brand and I’m quite familiar with their line of products.
Another factor to look at is who backs the particular vitamin company and its studies. When it comes to large corporations you might see them back their own scientific studies. Studies of this nature tend to produce results favourable to aid in marketing their supplements. Also, who sits on their advisory board, what are their qualifications?
The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a scientific nonprofit organization that sets standards for ( the identity, strength, quality, and purity of medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements manufactured, distributed and consumed worldwide. When shopping for dietary supplements be sure to look for the “USP” verified mark. As stated on their website:
“The USP Verified Mark means the dietary supplement contains the ingredients listed on the label, in the declared potency and amounts; that it does not contain harmful levels of specified contaminants; that it will breakdown and release ingredients into the body within a specified amount of time, and that it has been made according to FDA and USP Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), using safe, sanitary and well-controlled processes.”
These standards also ensure that compliance is met for registration with ISO (International Organization of Standardization). ISO certified products are especially important to athletes, as it ensures the products are safe from banned substances that otherwise could effect their qualification to compete in sporting activities. So when you see “ISO certified” you know the product is meeting high standards of quality, purity and above all safety.
You might not always find the “USP” certification on vitamins or supplements. What you might see is “NSF”, which provides assurance to consumers and health care practitioners that products are manufactured and distributed from facilities following the highest standards of quality control and assurance. This provides another way to identify reliable high-quality dietary supplements which undergo frequent Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) inspections.
With all this said, depending on your Doctor, most may feel that it isn’t necessary to supplement with a multi-vitamin. They may feel that if the child is growing well and eats a healthy diet it is unwarranted. Truth be told, I was a bit shocked to find out my son had vitamin deficiencies and he was eating a fairly well balanced diet.
Why do deficiencies occur in our children today, why aren’t they getting everything they need in the foods we buy? I will be answering this question along with some quick tricks to get the quality vitamin you are looking for – stay tuned. Share your thoughts with me…do you use a multi-vitamin for your children?