Hudson Valley Parent

HVP Dec 2014

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Page 30 of 41 n Hudson Valley Parent 29 Do your kids take vitamins or supplements? Why or why not? "My kids do not take anything daily. I have a problem and issue with pill popping, whether it be prescription drugs, over the counter drugs or vitamins. — Tiffany Seyfert, Saugerties "Yes, both my kids take a daily multivitamin and also a probi- otic. My daughter mostly eats whatever we give her, but my son with SPD is a very picky eater, so we try to make sure they get everything they need. Probiotics have been very helpful in keeping the kids' immune systems healthy especially during the cold and flu season." — Gizella DiVenere, Saugerties "My daughter takes probiotics only. We don't give vitamins because she is a great eater and eats fruits and veggies with every meal. The probiotics along with her diet keep her regular and keep her immune system healthy. — Katie Angel, Hopewell Junction "My son takes a chewable vitamin with fluoride because Poughkeepsie does not have fluoride in the water." — Tina Cody, Poughkeepsie "Yes, I give my 4-year-old a multivitamin with extra D and a probiotic. She is a terribly picky eater and her pediatrician recom- mended the supplements." — Davina Rupp-Trafagander, Highland HVP Chatroom liquid and tablets. "If you have concerns about your child's diet, speak to your pediatri- cian," says Tashman. "For example, if you are a vegan you many become anemic and require B-12 supple- ments. Those who drink goat's milk need folic acid." Then there's the challenge of finding a kids' vitamin that's not full of unwanted additives or worse. A 2008 study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that a significant number of popular chil- dren's vitamins were contaminated with lead. And they may not contain the vitamins or doses promised. iJulie Gallagher ran into this very problem when she wanted a quality multivitamin for her 3-year-old, Will. "A good diet should cover every- thing, but I know I don't prepare a perfect meal every night," she says. But when she started looking, she found that nearly every kid's vitamin contained a questionable ingredient: added sugar, artificial dyes (linked to behavior problems in children since the 1970s) or lead. Payman's rule about vitamins is: NO preservatives, NO additives, NO artificial coloring and NO gluten. She suggests that you can usually find vitamins that meet her 4 NOs at local health food stores including as Adams Fairacre Farm, Nature's Pan- try, Mother Earth and Village Apoth- ecary. She finds that even some supermarkets like Hannafords also carry vitamins with no additives. Payman offers three suggestions: 1. Read the labels. Even if the label says organic doesn't mean it is better for your child. The fewer ingredients the better; 2. Make sure the supple- ments have no preservatives, corn syrup or hydrogenated oil, and 3. Breakfast bars or even yogurt prod- ucts are not always a healthy alter- native for breakfast. Many include high fructose and corn syrup. Boughton from the Village Apothocary disagrees with Paymen's assessment. "Vitamin labels don't tell the whole story. We carry a whole food vitamin that is made from actu- al food. For example, the vitamin C is made from a fruit concentrate and has less sugar than other products, explains Boughton. He suggests going to a center where staff under- stands the products they carry. Is it safe to skip? With all the questions surround- ing supplements, some parents choose to bypass them altogether. But that may be a mistake, too. Picky eaters, exceptionally slow growers, chronically ill children or those who avoid certain food groups due to allergies or preferences may need added vitamins. Paymen says, "It can be very hard for kids on a restrictive diet to get everything they need for growth." In those cases, Paymen suggests asking your child's doctor to see what he recommends. For example, dairy avoiders may need additional calcium and vitamin D supplements for healthy bones and teeth, or will need to develop a better understand- ing of the foods required to make sure that they are getting the neces- sary vitamin D nutrients. Both Pay- men and Tashman agree that vegans can benefit from supplements. Those who avoid grains or gluten might miss out on the magnesium or vita- min E found in whole grains. Supplement savvy What's a parent to do? If your child won't drink milk or gets stuck in an "I hate veggies!" phase, or if your family follows a restrictive diet a multivitamin is worth considering. Though food-based nutrition is ideal, it is not always possible or practical for all kids all the time. A few simple blood tests can elim- inate nutritional guessing games. Your family doctor can easily check levels of nutrients such as D, B12 and iron, and offer customized ad- vice about supplementation. Malia Jacobson is a nationally published parenting journalist.

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