Are Your Children’s Vitamins Healthy?

March 15, 2017

in Ask Dr Lisa, Autism Challenges, Family Health

 

 “Dr. Lisa, my son is having major sensory issues including ADHD. His teachers say he is very “off” at pre-school. He is a horrible eater and my husband and I want to provide more nutritional support to see if this can help his behavior. I do not know what Children’s Vitamin to buy as so many seem to have dyes in them. Can you help?” ~ Linda

Holy cow bat girl! Excellent question. Let’s dig deep here and talk about Children’s Vitamins.

Should We Give Vitamins to Our Children?

The answer to this question is subjective in nature. Many experts claim that there is no benefit taking vitamins; whereas, others will claim the very opposite. In my research I have come across opinions and questionable studies on both sides, but neither compelled me to take a side.

I concluded that most of these claims were missing two very important factors we must ask ourselves as parents:

  1.  Why does my child need to take vitamins?
  2.  What am I really giving my child when I give a Children’s Vitamin- seriously, what is in them?

Our food today is insanely processed and loaded with toxic synthetic ingredients. We are finding out every day how harmful these ingredients are and very little nutritional or health value many conventional foods have.  I find children with sensory problems and Autism Spectrum Disorders are typically picky eaters. Many can put up the most commendable fights of “No way am I eating that! I will stick with my three favorite foods, thank-you!”

Many children on the Autism Spectrum do not have healthy diets loaded with organic vegetables, fruits and lean meats which are cooked and prepared in the home. I get it. These “overtilted” children physically can feel tortured trying to get through a meal, and heck, the parents want to scream too!

A healthy organic diet is imperative to increase neurological regulation by providing essential nutrients to a child’s body with ASD, SPD and ADD/ADHD. Creating this type of diet also removes the many toxic ingredients commonly found in a traditional American Diet that are linked to creating neurological problems.

I am for High Quality Healthy Children’s Vitamins because:

  1.  We must provide the best nutritional supplement that will provide optimal nutritional support of the nervous system for families that have children who do not eat an organic plant based and lean meat diet.
  2.  We must work on getting such children to eat healthier foods and understand this takes knowledge, practice and time (years)!
  3.  As the years go by and we teach children to eat healthier food choices, a high quality healthy Children’s Vitamin is a must. That is my opinion, but taken over 20 years of experience and having a child with ASD too.

NEW FLASH:  If you do not choose a High Quality Healthy Children’s Vitamin, I would skip giving them to a child. I explain this below.

Why Should I Choose High Quality and Healthy Children’s Vitamins Only?

Vitamin sales is a multimillion dollar goal mine. According to the Nutrition Business Journal, sales are expected to reach a 9.2 million dollar mark. This a big business for sure, so you must educate yourself on what brands are worth your money and will actually deliver the health benefits they claim.

The Federal Drug Administration regulates vitamin supplements, but they do not actually test them to make sure they are safe. The FDA leaves this responsibility up to the manufacturer. Consumer Lab.com claims that 30% of vitamin supplements have quality problems such as poor bioavailibity (this is the ability to dissolved and be absorbed by the body) and standardization issues (they have more or less of the amount of the ingredients listed).  The FDA allows for this ingredient variation. This is important because the brand of vitamin you buy may not have a good bioavailability and/or standardization.

The little vitamin you swallow may not be dissolved or absorbed into the bloodstream entirely and/or have the amount of nutrients in it that you think it does.

Although bioavailability and standardization are important to get your money’s worth, I dislike the actual ingredients allowed in the majority of conventional and some “natural” Children Vitamins. They are downright scary.

You should only buy HIGH QUALITY HEALTHY CHILDREN VITAMINS TO AVOID HARMFUL INGREDIENTS AND PROVIDE THE BODY WITH SUPER NUTRIENTS.

Let’s take a look at the ingredients to avoid.  You are not going to like it, but I will show you what brands to get shortly.

If You See Any of These Harmful Ingredients, Do Not Buy It!

Our mom today asked me specifically about Flintstone Children’s Vitamins, so we will take a look at a Flintstone label right from their website. However, virtually all brands (popular, dollar store, big chains such as Costco and Walmart, and drugstores) are formulated with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and many other toxic ingredients. Be careful, even some health food store brands may have harmful ingredients, so let’s go over a few of them so you can choose wisely.

Add subtitle text (1)Genetically Modified Organisms

GMOs are genetically modified organisms that should be avoided at all costs. They are toxic and have been linked to health problems. Sources such as glucose, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, fructose, microcrystalline cellulose, maltodextrin, corn starch,highly processed high fructose corn syrup,  and other sugar variants such as, dextrose monohydrate, can be derived from corn which may be derived from GMOs. These have been linked to serious health problems such as tumors in rats.

Watch out also for the word “vegetarian” as it can be sourced from GMO yeast extract and soy. Knowing the sugar source of ingredients in a product is very important in creating and maintaining a healthy body and nervous system, and also in the prevention of diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. The body reacts differently to chemically processed sugars than wholesome organic sugars.

A hyperactive and overtilted nervous system needs to avoid drinks and foods with high processed sugar contents.

“GMOs are truly “hidden” in vitamins because the GM-derived ingredients are so heavily processed that all DNA is destroyed in the process, thereby destroying any footprint of genetic modification. Genetic ID tests, in other words, require particles of the food to remain relatively intact so that PCR lab equipment can replicate genetic sequences. Heavily processed ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin and ascorbic acid have no genetic material remaining, thereby sweeping their origins under the rug.” (http://www.naturalnews.com/041416_GMO_vitamins_maltodextrin.html#ixzz331DlTsU7)

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners should be avoided at all costs. These chemicals are toxins linked to problems such as insomnia, headaches, loss of memory, panic attacks, nausea, PMS, cancer, Autism Spectrum Disorder, neurological disorders, brain defect, gastrointestinal problems, and birth defects. I do not support the use of artificial sweeteners as the use of an organic wholesome sweetener provides more health benefits than artificial ones.

Aspartame

This artificial sweetener is one of the most dangerous additives. It is made up of aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol, three harmful chemicals to be avoided.  It is very important to understand the detrimental effects these three neurotoxins have on the body. Dr. Mercola’s article explains why you must avoid foods containing Aspartame as well as, phynalanine and methanol. Aspartame has the names, Nutra Sweet, Equal and Spoonful and it converts into toxic methanol and formaldehyde in your body. The FDA reports Aspartame to account for over 75% of adverse reactions in food additives, many being very serious. Some of the adverse reactions are headaches migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, depression, fatigue, weight-gain, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, joint pain and memory loss. It has been linked to neurological and health problems such as cancer.

Sorbitol

Sorbitol  is a sugar alcohol derived from fruits, corn and seaweed. It is a sweetener not recommend to be given to children and those with digestive problems as it has a laxative effect and has also been linked over the year to various health issues such as diarrhea, constipation, bowel problems and abdominal pain. It even has been reported to be linked to elevating the levels of sodium in the blood in children. In fact, many food items containing sorbitol now have a warning label on them warning of a laxative effect.

 Neurotoxins can excite or overstimulate nerve cells and create devastating neurological consequences in the brain and body. A child with a nervous system that has difficulty with self-regulation, the integration of sensory input, and mental focus should avoid vitamins and foods contain such harmful ingredients at all costs.

Natural and Artificial Flavors

Artificial flavoring means the flavoring of a food or vitamin with artificial ingredients that are synthetic and toxic to the body. They are not identified as a natural product or intended for human consumption and typically a chemical manipulation of an earth chemical such as coal tar or petroleum. These must be avoided at all cost too!

Natural flavoring is a bit more tricky. The term leads us to believe that it is an ingredient from a natural source, not a synthetic one which allows us to conclude that it is safe for consumption. Although the flavoring must be derived from plant or animal raw materials (by a physical, microbiological or enzymatic process), many food items on our shelves today are sourced with toxic chemicals that cause diseases. Natural flavoring can mean can mean gultamate, MSG, autolyzed  yeast, hydrolyzed soy protein, artificial sweeteners, L- Cysteine (usually from duck feathers and human hair), GMOs, anal secretions, and other unhealthy ingredients.  Holy cow, right?

“When you buy something and it has “natural flavoring,” you could be eating a pig, cow, turkey, chicken, or lamb which was shot up with growth hormones, fed GMO pesticide-laden corn and grain…” (http://www.naturalnews.com/036308_natural_flavors_MSG_aspartame.html)

Unfortunately, our FDA allows this trickery of including harmful and gross ingredients to be termed as “natural flavoring”.

Artificial Dyes and Colorings

Citrus Red 2, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2, and Green 3 are derived from coal tar and petroleum, and according to the Center of Science in Public Interest (CSPI) have or have been contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals.  The British Food Standards Agency in 2001 concluded after a study that 6 dyes/colorants and sodium benzoate were linked to increasing hyperactivity and ADD in children. As a result, the European Union Law required all beverages with these 6 dyes to have warning labels that consumption can lead to hyperactivity. However, these colorful dyes are allowed in Children’s Vitamins and food products in the USA, especially sports drinks and soft drinks.

In 2007 a study by Southampton University and funded by the UK Food Standards Industry was published in the The Lancet. It was monumental because it linked artificial dyes to increasing hyperactivity rates in ALL children, not just children with ADD/ADHD. This study supported the claims that food additives can exacerbate hyperactivity (inattention, impulstivity, and overactivity) in children from pre-school to middle school ages. Imagine what they can do to children with ADD/ADHD, ASD and SPD?

“This Study (Souhthampton) provides evidence of deleterious effects of artificial food colors and additives on children’s behavior with data from a whole population sample,” the authors wrote, “using a combination of robust objective measures with strong ecological validity, based partly on observations in the classroom and ratings of behavior made independently by teachers and by parents in the different context of the home and applying double-blinded challenges with quantities of additives equal to typical dietary intakes.” (http://www.medpagetoday.com/Psychiatry/ADHD-ADD/6610)

Avoid these dyes by choosing companies that refuse to include them in your Children’s Vitamins.

Aluminum Lake

Aluminum Lake is also known as tartrazine, FD&C Yellow Aluminum Lake. It is highly dangerous chemical derived from coal tar. All artificial colors contain Aluminum Lake, so whether you pick between red, blue or green dyes, you are consuming this toxin. Aluminum Lake contains dangerous amounts of aluminum and harmful synthetic petrochemicals which are carcinogens containing petroleum, antifreeze and ammonia.

Aluminum poisoning can lead to short and long term central nervous system (CNS) damage, such as memory impairments, autism, epilepsy, mental retardation, and dementia. It indeed must be removed from any children’s vitamin, drinks and food products.

 Synthetic Vitamins and Minerals

Cupric Acid

Cupric oxide is a substance that is used in many vitamins as Copper source. In the Flintstone Vitamin its role is assumed to be a nutritional source of the mineral Copper providing 100% of the Daily Essential Value of Copper in a 4 year old, according to the Flintstone website. However, Cupric Oxide has been reported as a dangerous substance which should not to be used in animals or humans both in the USA and Europe. In fact, the European Union’s Dangerous Substance Directive listed it as a hazardous substance.   The American Journal of Nutrition reported in 1999 reported  Cupric oxide to be unavailable for absorption in the gut and rated it’s bioavailability to be zero.

“Cupric oxide is no longer used as a Cu supplement in animal nutrition, but it continues to be used in vitamin-mineral supplements (tablets) for humans. Teenagers and adults consuming energy-restricted diets often rely on supplements to ensure that vitamin and mineral requirements are being met. It seems possible that such individuals may be Cu deficient, because the CuO in the tablet they are taking is not providing bioavailable Cu.” (http://jn.nutrition.org/content/129/12/2278.full)

It is mind blowing that over a decade later, our vitamin supplement companies still use this form of copper knowing it is not absorbed by the gut and has been listed as a dangerous substance in Europe.  Another ingredient to avoid at all costs.

 Zinc Oxide

Zinc oxide is a substance commonly used in sunscreens. It also is used in as a colorant, bulking agent and nutritional source of zinc for the body. According to the Environmental Working Group, zinc oxide is an inorganic oxide that is registered as an occupational hazard with concerns regarding organ system toxicity. The Flintstone website states it as a nutritional source for kids over 4 years of age and meets 80% of Daily Value.  We have to question if the best source of Zinc is being offered in Children’s Vitamins, or is it the cheapest? I would suggest here using a source of organically bound Zinc. We can and must do way better than this.

Ferrous Fumarate

Ferrous Fumarate used in the Flinstone’s Vitamin (and many others) is a synthetic mineral not an organic compound found in nature as food. Although we think of giving our children vitamins as a way to make sure they are getting minerals and nutrients, many vitamins on the market today (and vitamin drinks) use  synthetic forms of vitamins, minerals and nutrients instead of organic compounds naturally found in nature and safe for the body.

“Ferrous Fumarate is extremely toxic, and accidental overdose of products containing this form has been reported to be “a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6” (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/12/children-foods-supplements.aspx#_edn11). This industrial mineral and many others like it should be avoided and instead, a natural organic compound used to provide your child with vitamins necessary for healthy growth and development.

Other Harmful Ingredients

Hydrogenated Soybean Oil

Hydrogenated oils are the sneaky evils in many foods, but to see it in a Children’s Vitamin is even more disturbing.  These fats are man-made created by taking a healthy unsaturated fat and blowing as hydrogen atoms into is, thus saturated it. They create pure havoc in the bod as they are linked to an abundant of diseases, especially heart disease. They are harmful and should not be used.

Silicon Dioxide

This is sand, yes, sand. It is used in many products as a flow agent to avoid clumping of ingredients. Children should not be eating sand and this is an unnecessary ingredient.

Even More Toxic Ingredients to Avoid

Avoid talc, sodium benzoate, methylcellulose, carnauba wax, silicon/titanium dioxide, animal parts, magnesium stearate, titanium dioxide, citric acid and sodium citrate. Google what you do not know!

What to Look for in a High Quality and Healthy Children’s Vitamin

I look for the following:

  •  Bioavailability
  • Standardization
  • No toxic ingredients
  • High quality nutrients
  • Wholefood plant sources

Before I share my favorite product, I want to briefly explain one more important vitamin factor.

Conventional and many health food store vitamins use synthetic ingredients which are toxic.  In fact, some of the synthetics such as Cupric Acid is banned in other countries. It is also why if you choose them, I agree with experts saying that vitamin supplements are not needed. Synthetic is bad. Remember that always.

Whole Food Children’s Vitamins are BEST!

Wholefood Children’s Vitamins that are certified organic /Non-GMO nourish the body with high quality minimally processed super foods sourced from plants such as your greens vegetables and many fruits. You are getting the most nutrition for you money. Whole foods provide vitamins, antioxidants, phytonutrients, minerals and are compressed into highly dense forms that provide the closest amount of nutrition that an organic raw vegetable/fruit can (when compared to it’s synthetic toxic competitors).

They Come In Two Forms:

  1.  Powder: This form is best as it is a result of compressing whole foods into highly dense gelatinized forms without a synthetic process. We typically buy a berry flavor and add it to our children’s smoothies, yogurts or juices. I suggest whatever company you choose make sure it is certified organic and check with the company on how much to give your child.
  2. Tablet: This form is second best to the powder form. Is the result of isolating different nutrients from plants without synthetically processing or using synthetic ingredients. We have used this form also, but not a powder and tablet together.

The amount of nutrition with the certified organic verification in both brands below is amazing. Over the years we have tried both the powder form and tablet (but not both together as that would be too much vitamins). In fact, our little guy prefers powder in his juice and the older guys rather swallow a tablet and be done.

I love The Synergy Company, but you can shop around and see if you find one you love too. Remember to look at the ingredients to make sure it is clean of toxic ingredients. Also, go for the certified organic label as most toxic ingredients cannot be in the product under the USDA Certified Organic regulation.

 The  Synergy Company

This company is my favorite. It is innovative and authentically organic, utilizing organic whole foods as your nutrient source. Remember, the majority of vitamin companies alter vitamins and minerals into a synthetic form which the body does not utilize to maximum ability. The Synergy Company derives nutrients from certified organic and Non-GMO  real whole foods, leaving out synthetic, toxic and harmful ingredients found in competitor products. I love The Synergy Company’s products, especially the pure kale, beet,carrot and berry powders that I can give to my sons or even sneak into smoothies and meals.

The Synergy Company’s pure vegetable powders are a mom’s secret weapon for the picky eater, assuring her that her child is getting high quality vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients (body love) into daily diet.

Find Out What Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies Your Child Has FIRST!

I understand that no product is perfect and you may feel your product is fine. Nutrition changes frequently as do regulations, so trusting your knowledge over a commercial or company claim is the best way to go.

There are other companies that offer high quality organic multivitamin and wholefood  products, although some are not entirely organic which should make you question the ingredients. Shopping your local health food store may provide great choices for you. But consider taking the steps to find out what vitamin and mineral deficiencies your child has BEFORE giving you child any kind of supplement.

One of the biggest and most confusing mistakes parents make (and all from love) is giving their child a supplement without knowing if their child is deficient in that nutrient. I speak strongly against that because it is almost impossible to know what nutrient your child is deficient  in without proper full panel vitamin and mineral lab testing like I do in my practice and across the country. If you have not met with a nutritionist like me and had you child tested both for the MTHFR gene and vitamin and mineral deficiencies, you may give your child the wrong vitamin completely making helping him/her more difficult for you.

If you would love to learn more about what vitamins your child really should be taking, feel free to contact me for a one hour consultation where we can discuss this very important topic together

Yours in Wholefood Nutrition,

 

 

 

Resources: *Always read my disclaimer and photo credits are given to George Muresan @Dollar Photo Club. This page may contain affiliate links meaning we earn a commission if you use those links. We only recommend brands we use and trust.

  • http://jn.nutrition.org/content/129/12/2278.full
  • http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/707070/ZINC_OXIDE/
  • http://www.greenmedinfo.com/toxic-ingredient/hydrogenated-oil
  • http://www.naturalnews.com/034813_childrens_medicines_aluminum_pills.html
  • http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/06/aspartame-most-dangerous-substance-added-to-food.aspx
  • http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/05/26/what-is-erythritol-doing-in-vitamin-water.aspx
  • http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/top-us-brand-childrens-vitamins-contains-aspartame-gmos-other-hazardous-chemicals

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Colleen G November 26, 2014

Thank you! Thank you for this blog post! I try to make good choices for my son. When I picked my current vitamin, I felt confidant as it didn’t have any dyes or artificial ingredients. I starting noticing that his behavior became very challenging and I wasn’t sure why. After reading this blog, I looked at the ingredients more closely. It contains sorbitol, silicon dioxide and magnesium stearate. I immediately stopped the vitamin and the difficult behavior went away immediately. It is very frightening that so many children’s products on the market are detrimental to our kids. Thanks again!!

Dr. Lisa November 27, 2014

Colleen, I am so very glad you took the time to read my blog post AND to check out the vitamin your son was taking. Reading and knowing the ingredients is crucial in not only creating health, but also with regulating the nervous system and challenges such as poor behavior. I am thrilled your son’s behavior changed when you decided to stop giving him vitamins with toxic ingredients. Good job momma! Keep moving forward in creating a healthy and thriving family! ~ Dr. Lisa

Chara November 27, 2014

Lisa, this is a helpful article. Thanks for going through the ingredients. I agree, a vitamin with poor ingredients is probably worse than no vitamin at all.

Dr. Lisa December 1, 2014

Chara, I am so glad you commented on that. It really is best to skip the vitamin if it is jammed packed with harmful ingredients. Wholefoods is the best! ~Dr. Lisa

Dr. Lisa December 3, 2014

Bree, You are welcome! I was disappointed researching this article. I didn’t think there would be such a limited choice, but to create a healthy lifestyle, one must really read the ingredients and think twice before eating! ~Dr. Lisa

Karin December 3, 2014

Such an important topic. Awareness of ingredients not only in our foods, but our supplements is so important—espcially for children ADHD. Actually, all children. All of us. Thanks, Lisa.

Lisa December 4, 2014

So informative and comprehensive Lisa! I’ll be sharing this with my brother for my niece and nephew. Thanks!!

Summer Cushman December 4, 2014

Thank you for this! I’ll be forwarding it to a few friends who could benefit…

Dr. Lisa December 4, 2014

Summer, You are very welcome. I hope they enjoy it and make some changes if need be as well! ~ Dr. Lisa

Carla November 11, 2016

I just realized my daughter has an intolerance citric acid and its in all of her vitamins. Thank you for writing this. It is very challenging to find high quality vitamins that are actually non toxic.

Dr. Lisa February 10, 2017

You are very welcome. Many vitamins have junk ingredients in them which makes it harder for us to find clean ones. Glad I could help you! ~ Dr. Lisa

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