The Vitamins That Can Keep Your Children Healthy

With cold and flu season in full swing, the occasional sniffle is inevitable. In fact, your child’s immune system isn’t fully developed until they’re eight, and between the ages of six and 18 months, children are particularly prone to infections, catching up to ten colds a year before their second birthday. To learn more about the supplements that could help them build a more resilient immune system, we asked three leading children’s health experts to weigh in.
By Tor West /

Lucinda Miller

Naturopath & Functional Medicine Practitioner says...

Start With A Multivitamin

“To keep your children robust over the winter months, start with a good quality multivitamin that contains decent levels of vitamins A, C and D as well as zinc. If your child is prone to infections, you can top up with a stand-alone vitamin C, D and zinc while they are unwell and recuperating. Unless your child is under 12 months, look for a multivitamin that offers around 20 vitamins and minerals versus the typical supermarket brands, which only offer three to seven vitamins. Also choose a supplement that offers at least the basic nutrient reference value (NRV) and no less – most supermarket brands only contain 50% of the NRV. Also look out for a supplement that contains vitamin D3 instead of D2 and folate versus folic acid. I rate Animal Parade Multivitamin Tablets.”

Try Gummies & Sprays

“Children often prefer gummies and they’re an easy win when you’re rushing in the morning. They tend to contain good levels of vitamins; however, they don’t contain enough key minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. This is partly because these minerals are innately bulky, chalky powders, which do not lend themselves well to bind into a gummy. Sprays are becoming increasingly popular, and these are particularly good if you are trying to top up vitamin D3 or iron levels.”

Stock Up On Elderberry

“If your little one is poorly, consider elderberry syrup, too, which has antiviral properties – it’s my first port of call at the first sign of a viral infection.”

Support A Growth Spurt

“Children need extra nutrition when they are going through a growth spurt, and especially so in the winter. Puberty is a time when kids need to consume the greatest levels of key nutrients such as iron, zinc and calcium. The daily needs for vitamins and minerals generally tend to increase with size and weight, however iron is an anomaly as weaned babies need more daily iron than toddlers (11mg vs 7mg per day) and then the requirements wax and wane over the course of a child’s life and rises to 14mg for menstruating girls.”

Supplement A Fussy Eater

“If your child has a narrow repertoire of foods they will eat, they may need additional iron or zinc. At the same time, if they constantly have sniffles and seem to be off school more than their peers, this may be a sign they need a nutrient top-up. If they are tired, pale, have rapid mood swings or poor focus, this could also be a sign they need additional supplements.”

Use Nano-Silver To Fight Viruses

“Silver has well-established antimicrobial properties against both viruses and bacteria, and research suggests it has specific antibacterial effects against Strep-A. As well as anti-bacterial activity, nano silver is also known to have anti-biofilm activity and can help to prevent these building up in the first place. It is relatively tasteless and easy to give young children when they have a sore mouth.”

Visit NatureDoc.co.uk

Sarah Almond Bushell

Registered Dietician says…

Get Involved With Vitamin D

“Vitamin D is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the winter months as it’s made by the body via sunshine. Babies and children need to get vitamin D from a supplement as we don’t access adequate sunlight in the winter months in the UK and cover up in sun cream in the summer. Vitamin D is tricky to find in food, so buy a good quality supplement. Under-ones need 8.5-10mcg from birth and over-ones need 10mcg per day. Check the back of the packet when buying a supplement as not all contain these levels.”

Include Iron At Every Meal

“Iron plays an important role in immune function but it’s a common deficiency in children. If your child is pale, tired, has a poor immune system and is picking up every bug going around, they may be iron deficient. Iron is found in red meat, dark poultry, eggs, beans, dried fruit, tofu, nut butter and fortified breakfast cereal (check the label to make sure your child’s cereal is fortified). Each time a non-meat, iron-rich food is eaten, make sure there’s some vitamin C on their plate, too. This is because vitamin C aids iron absorption in the body.”

Stick To Vitamins A, C & D

“If your child is healthy and well and not a fussy eater, a supplement containing just vitamins A, C and D is a good insurance policy. I rate Nature & Nurture’s drops – the formula is free from any nasties, tastes pleasant and at a small 0.5ml dose is suitable for both children and babies. It can even be mixed with food or drinks.”

Avoid Sugar Under Two

“Sugary syrups and gummies should be avoided for under-twos. This is because their sweet taste buds are very mature while their bitter and sour taste buds aren’t, meaning sweet foods can encourage a preference for sweeter things – essentially, they encourage a sweet tooth. Over-fives can carry on with drops, sprays, tablets or gummies.”

Visit ChildrensNutrition.co.uk

Lizzie King

Nutritional Health Coach says…

Soothe A Sore Throat

“Honey is great for soothing scratchy, sore throats – research suggests it may be due to the antimicrobial and healing properties of honey, which may offer pain relief and reduce inflammation. Jarrah Honey gets my vote – it has more antimicrobial power than Manuka and children can take it directly off the spoon.”

Try A Powder

“Most children dislike swallowing a pill, but a powder formula can easily be mixed with water or warm milk as a bedtime drink. Lizzie Loves Be Sleepy contains cherry and magnesium to aid sleep, while Be Well is a potent antiviral that contains elderberry, zinc and selenium as well as vitamins D and C to support winter immunity. For another alternative to tablets, I also swear by Bare Biology’s lemon-flavoured fish oil, which can easily be worked into pesto and pasta sauces.”

Visit Lizzie-Loves.com


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