While healthy children don’t generally need supplements, there are health issues among today’s youth that may call for extra nutrients. Kids who are overweight have a significantly higher chance of being overweight or obese as adults. As a result of this excess weight, Type 2 diabetes (which used to be called “adult-onset” diabetes) and cardiovascular issues are occurring more often in children and teens.
Certain supplements seem to improve quality of life for overweight or obese children. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that correcting vitamin D deficiency helped obese kids improve insulin sensitivity, a key factor in both metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes. Experts recommend that children receive a minimum of 400 IU/day of vitamin D.
Another investigation found that conjugated linoleic acid, a healthy fatty acid, reduced excess fat accumulation in children. The supplement also reduced levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
For obese or overweight children, I recommend supplementing with carotenoids, the antioxidants found in vegetables like carrots. Increased fiber can also help promote a healthy sugar metabolism.
Another epidemic is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There is evidence that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can help reduce ADHD symptoms in some children.
Choosing the right nutritional supplements starts by identifying each child’s needs and developing a plan to meet those needs. Our children are as unique as we are: There is no one-size-fits-all solution.