BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Berkeley Parents Network >
Advice about Health >
I've recently started researching vitamins and my head began to
spin as I realized that not all vitamins/minerals are the
same. I was wondering if anyone with knowledge on the subject
might recommend a good brand for an all around
mulitvitamin/mineral supplement with the most superior
ingredients for best health. I'm nursing right now so would
perhaps best benefit from a prenatal suppl. We do not eat
dairy so I have calcium concerns as well. I am also searching
for a good vitamin/mineral supplement for my kids, as well as
one for my husband. Aside from not eating dairy we have a
pretty well rounded diet, avoid artificial stuff, refined
sugars and eat organic produce and meats as often as possible.
There are so many choices out there and then you have to know
which kinds of vitamins and minerals are the best for your body-
it's mind blowing. Hoping to get some info from someone out
there who is better educated than me on the subject. I would
prefer any online sites as I am frequently out of the Bay Area.
NEEDS (www.needs.com) is a great site for high-quality vitamins
and minerals. Tyler, Nutribiotic/Allergy Research Group, and
PhytoPharmica are some brands they carry which are excellent--
widely used by professional alt. health practitioners. Tyler
has a prenatal, as well as some additional calcium supplements,
which it sounds like you need. Good luck!
Our 27 month old daughter gets extremely constipated from
children's chewable vitamins bc of the iron. The only non-iron
vitamins I can find are jelly-beans and she won't eat them.
There is a liquid form, but she won't drink that, either.
We've tried 3-4 brands and she has trouble with all of them. I
want to make sure she gets enough iron, so I would like to know
about gentle iron forms in toddler vitamins (they have gentle
iron for adults, but not for kids, oddly enough). Or if anyone
has ideas for the chewable vitamins that don't contain iron
that i could alternate w/ the iron-including ones.
There is a kind of liquid iron called ''Floradix'' and another
called ''Floravital'' that has iron, B and c. It does not cause
constipation. It can usually be found in health food stores with
the supplements. The brown bottle is usually sold in a box, red
and white. Refridgerate after opening.
You might want to check out this link,
and this link, http://www.askdrsears.com/html/8/T081100.asp. Both
discuss studies that have definitively shown that iron is NOT
constipating, and the Dr. Sears one also suggests step you can
take to discover and ameliorate the root causes of your baby's
I have a great recommendation for you. Shaklee makes a
wonderful multivitamin--tested for purity and potency, and easy
to give to kids. It comes in an infant/toddler formula,
totally non-constipating, and a good way to ensure that your
child gets the iron she needs (that is the primary reason I
give it to my 17-mos. old son too). If you'd like more
information or to order these vitamins, please email or call me. Thanks, Sarah
I am looking for recommendations of healthy multivitamins for
children without additives and preferably that children like
taking them. Any recommendations for adult multivitamins and/or
reliable sites for purchase are also welcome. Thanks!
I would highly recommend a product called Toddler Health for your
vitamin needs. It's a mix you add to water, milk or rice milk. I
also sprinkle it on my daughter's oatmeal and cereal and
sometimes add it to fruit smoothies. I like it because it is
all-natural and contains a balanced offering of vitamins,
antioxidents, Omega-3, protein without a lot of sugar, fat, or
cholesterol. I compared the ingredients to Pedia Sure and it has
90% less fat and sugar than their formula. It also has only 50
calories instead of 250. The thing I like best about it is has
natural fruit and vegetable extracts. My daughter is great about
eating her organic fruits and veggies, but she's exposed to so
many colds and viruses from preschool I wanted to be sure her
immune system is really strong.
I would highly recommend this product. My daughter loves the
taste and I love the ingredients
I am looking forward to the responses on this one. My kids are now 9 and 11 and I have been
looking for a vitamin with no additives that they will actually swallow since they have been old
enough to chew them!! I have resorted to the good old standby...Flinstone vitamins
The gummy vitamins my child likes have less than the daily
vitamin requirements for children over the age of 5. I've
tried several types of chewable vitamins and gumball vitamins
that have higher vitamin content, but my child doesn't like the
taste of any I've tried and he has trouble chewing them.
Has anyone found gummy vitamins with significant levels of
vitamins needed by children over 4 or can anyone recommend
chewable vitamins that are easy to chew and taste good?
We love Isotonix Might-A-Mins Children's Multivitamins. It's
for 2-15 year old. It is not gummy vitamins, it's in powder
form. Just mix with 2oz of water and it becomes ''juice''. It
taste great and kids love it. It uses fructose and glucose, both
naturally occurring sugars, blended with a delicious, natural
Mandarin orange flavor. It has no artificial ingredients and can
be absorbed extensively by the small intestine with very little
waste. It provides the recommended daily allowances of most
vitamins and minerals needed by children. In addition to 12
essential vitamins and 10 vital minerals, it has Phytonutrients
(natural plant extracts) from a proprietary blend of fruits and
vegetables. If you are intested in getting more information or
buying it, please give me a call, or email me.
My mom is really mad at me because I don't give my (3)kids
vitamins. The reason I don't is I believe we eat a good, mostly
organic diet and that we don't need to supplement. I think
vitamins are a waste of money basically. My kids are not sick a
lot, just the usual occasional cold (I have a preschooler who
I'm sure brings home a fare number of germs). I'm wondering if
there are others out there who agree with me, and I am
interested in any compelling evidence that we may need vitamins
Not pissing $20.
I agree with you. I won't waste my money on vitamins. We eat a
healthy, varied diet and are pretty much never sick
-- mom of a six year old
I agree with you completely. My kid is willing to eat whole grains,
fruits, and vegetables, is astonishingly healthy for a preschooler, and
I've never given him a single vitamin.
If you need to for your peace of mind, it's possible to find a solid
research literature supporting the notion that Americans who eat
reasonable diets (kids included) do not generally have vitamin
deficiencies, and only need vitamins if they have specific medical
No, I don't give my kid (age 3) vitamins. I asked his doctor about it
once, because my son is such a picky eater (he was pretty much
subsisting on milk, Cheerios and raisins at the time, although it has
since gotten better), and the doc said as long as he was eating the
Cheerios he didn't need vitamins. If your kids eat a variety of healthy
food, they should be getting pretty much everything they need.
Boy, it's tough when relatives get upset because we do things
differently than they do. As I myself am a holistic doctor who
specializes in nutritional health, this is something I have a lot of
experience in. Usually the only time I recommend additional supplements
are when the diet is not as complete as it could be (not getting enough
veggies and fruits, etc) or if it's flu and cold season - I will add
extra vitamin C to boost immunity. You mentioned your kids eat
primarily organic and eat a healthy diet and that they are not often
sick. It sounds like they do not need the vitamins and that you are
doing a wonderful job raising them to be healthy.
As you know, there are plenty of opinions on the matter.
Vitamins are kind of like insurance if there is doubt as to whether or
not the child is getting adequate nutrition, so many professionals will
recommend them. In your case, smile and thank your mom for her concern
and reassure her that your children are thriving. Perhaps you may
consider offering that if your children should become sick you would
consider vitamin therapy as a way to restore their health.
Incidentally, we go to Pediatric Alternatives in Mill Valley and our
pediatrician's only supplement recommendation has been Omega 3 oils for
brain growth. She suggested a cod liver oil that tastes lemony and
doesn't smell and is available either at her office or at Whole Foods.
No one needs vitamins if they are eating nutritious foods.
I also don't believe in them. Your body was made to absorb the
nutrients from natural foods. It does this much better than from any
Unless you've got a condition, like pernicious anemia where your body
doesn't absorb a certain nutrient, then you don't need 'em.
Healthy eating is where it's at
I do not give my child vitamins but I do give him cod liver oil and
butter oil. Like you, I believe that the best source of vitamins are
whole foods. Frankly, I am suspicious when industry takes the ''active''
material out of a natural substance and turns it into a pill. Studies
have shown repeatedly that vitamins are better absorbed when they come
from food sources, and my guess is that it's because the food sources
contain other substances which are not included in manufactured vitamins
because they are not considered ''active''.
I'm not sure if you eat meat or dairy, but studies have also shown that
vitamins are better absorbed if consumed with animal fat. That doesn't
mean you have to have animal fat if you don't want it, but if you do not
eat it, you need to compensate by consuming more produce.
Also, it's important to realize that due to reasons such as soil
depletion and market competition, food is actually less nutritious than
it was 50 years ago. Food generally begins degrading after harvesting.
For this reason it's important to buy the best and freshest
produce/eggs/meat/grains you can afford, the produce from a farm that
cares about their soil. Eat it soon and shop often instead of storing it
for a couple of weeks in the fridge Tabinda
Sorry I don't hav compelling evidence as you've asked for, but I read
somewhere that vitamins are toxic, as they provide far more than a body
can use. Everything in excess becomes a toxin that the body has to
somehow deal with and push out (defeating the purpose of vitamins which
are supposed to ''support'' the system, rather than tax it).
I read that eating a varied organic diet that is wholesome (i.e.
not overly processed), is the best way to get the necessary nutrients.
Make sure to eat your potato skins (some of its nutrients are not in the
flesh, unless it's a purple potato), as well as cucumber skins (if
unwaxed), winter squash skins (except spaghetti squash - yuck) etc. Eat
the whole food whenever possible, to get the full range of nutrients.
I also read that if you want to support your immune system, herbs are
far better than vitamins, because it's far less likely you will overdo
it and toxify yourself anon
I found a terrific product at Whole Foods called Toddler Health.
It has antioxidants, 24 vitamins and minerals and it contains real fruit
and vegetable extracts...sweetened with xylitol, not sugar....much lower
in carbs, fat and sugar than Pedia Sure and it tastes good. My daughter
likes vanilla the best. I sprinkle it on oatmeal, put it in smoothies
and mix it with milk Marilyn
We are deciding about newborn protocols, including vitamin K
shot right after birth. I've read mixed information--some say
it is unnecessary and some that it is vital. Any resources
would be helpful, articles, etc.
Both my kids - now 14 and 10 years old - were given vitamin k
orally, rather than by injection. I believe I had to get
orders (prescription?) from our pediatrician, which we brought
with us to the hospital.
I don't know if I was convinced one way or the other about the
need for vit. K, but I wanted to avoid inflicting more pain
than necessary on my newborn!
I don't have advice as to whether to choose to have the Vitamin
K shot administered. However, I do highly recommend asking the
nurse to administer any newborn shots while you are nursing your
baby. Both my sister and I asked our nurses at Alta Bates to do
this, and our babies did not cry (and barely flinched) while
getting their shots.
I have heard that the MOM can get the vitamin K shot now. But an interesting and
viable alternative is for the mom to do probiotics (lactobacillus and bifidum
acidophilus) 3 weeks prior to delivery. This ''colony'' can provide the baby, when
delivered vaginally, with the friendlies that synthesize vitamin K for us in the
I know that it's hard to contemplate your newborn being given a
shot at birth, ecch. I didn't like it, either. But from what I
read, Vitamin K is pretty important.
So I investigated it, and found that the vitamin K shot is the
same substance that can be given orally. I asked that it be given
orally instead. (I was being sewn up from my C-section, so I
don't know, but I trust that it was given that way.)
I was conflicted about the K shot too, but decided to go with
the shot (not oral version) for a few reasons: The vit. K that
is given orally is not a special oral preparation, it is just
the stuff that they would put in a shot and was formulated with
the intention of being administered that way. I'm not sure if
they have done tests for effectiveness when given orally, but it
made sense to me to give it in the way it was made to be given.
I figured that birth is so painful and physically traumatic for
a baby, being smushed and squeezed through a tiny hole, that
what is another second of pain from a shot? Also, it supposedly
tastes absolutely terrible. My midwife, who was very open and
encouraging of alternative options was in favor of the shot for
a reason that I thought made a lot of sense- babies are so oral-
why start their life with a terrible oral experience when they
are seeking the pleasureable oral experiences of nursing,
sucking, etc. Actually, my baby didn't even cry when he got the
The Vitamin K shot for newborns is basically one of those things
that addresses a rare, but potentially dangerous condition.
Because the shot is inexpensive, it is rutinely given in this
Vitamin K helps with blood clotting. The potential risk is that a
newborn may have some internal injury due to birth trauma, and
may bleed internally without outward symptoms.
My understanding is that there are two effective alternatives to
The first is oral. Research shows this is just as effective as
the shot. While it is routine in other countries, it is not
commonly done here and an oral dose is not commercially
available. You can ask for oral Vit. K and they will administer
the dose prepared for injection orally. Apparently it is not very
tasty, and often elicits grimaces and crying.
The second option is dietary. Although Vit. K does not pass well
through breast milk, it does readily cross the placenta. Research
shows that the babies of women who eat diets rich in Vit. K
during pregnancy have sufficient vit. k in their blood at birth.
Leafy greens are the best source of vitamin k. Freezing destroys
it, but it can withstand cooking/heat. According to the USDA, the
best greens are amaranth greens (also known as hing choi or hin
choi) which are sometimes available at Berkeley Bowl, Monterey
Market, or other groceries catering to asian shoppers.
Another excellent source are herbs such as alfalfa (presumably
sprouts, too), red clover, nettles, and red raspberry leaf. Al
these herbs are generally used for pregnancy and helpful in other
ways as well (e.g., helping prevent pre-eclampsia). Using an
infusion (herbal tea) of these 4 herbs is an excellent way to
stay well-hydrated and increase your vitamin K intake.
BTW, this worked well enough for our second child that the
mid-wives had difficultly getting enough blood out of her before
she clotted up during the PKU test.
Of course, you should check with your provider and make a
Recently, my 18 month-old came down with a couple of infections
that accompanied (cold) sores in the mouth. Since then, he has
become a ''picky eater,'' refusing fruits and other food he used to
enjoy before. Does anyone have any suggestions on a safe/natural
multi vitamin product that is appropriate for his age? Thank you
in advance for your advice.
Gummy vites, at Trader Joe's, and sometimes available in larger
bottles at Costco.
My Mom who lives in Europe said that the pediatricians
there insist that the american vitamins are
synthetically processed and therefore have little
value to them. I use children's chewable vitamins
without artificial coloring, starch, yeast etc so the
"best" I can find on the market.
Any opinions ? Thank you.
I have read a fair amount on this subject and synthetic vitamins are NOT
useless for adults, and I assume the same is true for children. There are a
couple of vitamins (e.g., vitamin E, I believe) that are better consumed in a
"natural" form. But for the vast majority of vitamins it does not matter how
they were processed. All work equally well. It is good to look for a "USP"
label on your vitamins, and of course, it is best to get adequate vitamins
and minerals from a variety of healthy foods. But I know I don't get what I
need from my diet and take a daily multivitamin. liz
This is not a topic I have done research on, but I recently heard
something quite similar from my sister-in-law in France. Apparently
her pediatrician recommends agaist giving multivitamins to children on
the grounds that the body doesn't develop the mechanisms to synthesize
vitamins from food. Although I plan to ask about this at my daughter's
next well-child visit, I'm inclined to chalk it up to differences in
pediatric recommendations between Europe and the US. In France at
least, recommendations for prenatal care are quite different (only one
glass of wine with meals, no more than 2 cups of coffee, and a limit
of 5 cigarettes a day!), as are recommendations for feeding solids,
dental care, car seat safety... the list goes on. My hunch is that
theories on multivitamins fall into this category.
There's a lot of conflicting information within any one culture, and
it only gets more complicated when you factor in medical practices
from other cultures. I'll be interested to see the range of replies on
this one, too. My own choice has been to weigh the unproven harm of
giving multivitamins against my daughter's abysmal eating habits, and
get high-quality vitamins. Best of luck, Jennifer
I've heard of a study done with incarcerated children who have a history
of violent behavior and home life. The only change to their diets was
the addition of a daily, generic, over the counter multivitamin free of
artificial colors. After some period of time their was supposed to have
been a marked decrease in antisocial behavior and improvements in their
academic achievement. So, synthetic vitamins do have an effect. I
doubt your child would show such a dramatic change with the addition or
deletion of a synthetic or natural multivitamin.
There are inherent drawbacks in removing nutrients from their natural
context. So, the all natural pills are not without some deficiencies.
Many vitamins occur with other similar compounds that have important
functions along other metabolic pathways. I would suggest selecting
whole foods that provide a variety of nutrients and limiting foods that
are nutrient poor. Here are some easy trade offs:
+ Whole grain instead of refined grain products
+ Fish instead of mammals
+ Fruit instead of fruit drinks
+ Cook extra portions when there's time to cook then serve them later
instead of some "meal from a box"
In general, vitamin pills provide the most benefit to those who
manufacture and sell them.
this page was last updated: Sep 25, 2006
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network