Friday, March 5, 2010

Supplement for kids - Review and Recommendations

What supplement would I recommend for children? A very good question. The supplement that we currently use was done via a browses of what was easily available at the store at the time.... Not a systematic review. Sometimes a quick decision with error is better than a labored decision that takes months! So with that in mind any supplement for your kids would be better than no supplement at all and if the supplement that you have been using is not recommended, please don't feel bad. Least you were giving your child a supplement!

The assumption is that this must be a chewable supplement. Getting kids onto a non chewable adult supplement around puberty (if not before) so they can have assess to higher levels of nutrients is important.

Overall highest quality
Clinians Vitamin & Mineral Boost Powder (1-MV) came out on top.  This is likely because it is designed for optimal adult vitamin intake. It is the only powder that was reviewed. Being a powder you can use a heaped teaspoon for adults or a flat teaspoon for children. 

It impressed me with high levels of vitamins. For example had 10 times level of B1 as other vitamins, other vitamins were also plentiful. It also had choline, inositol and PABA. Choline has been a vitamin for about 20 years now and insositol and PABA are "almost vitamins" that is they could be helpful to your body.

It had very good levels of minerals, it was also one of two that had boron, one of three that had chromium, and one of four that had Selenium. Most of the minerals were amino acid chelates - which means they are highly bio-available and can be used by your body. 

At 50 cents a serve (for kid) this was also the 2nd most expensive at 50 cents a serve. However if you reduced the dose to 1/2 tsp or 1/4 tsp this would drop the price to 25 or 12.5 cents. To compare this with others the average cost per dose of all 20 (check) supplements was 34 cents with range from 17 - 76 cents a dose. So a 25 cent dose price would provide excellent value.

Disadvantages. It didn't have any carotenoids (only vitamin A). It also used synthetic vitamin E, this is unfortunate as synthetic vitamin E is not something I would feed my children if I had the choice. I had the feeling that even the bioflavonoids (contained highest level being 100 mg, closest next level was 10 mg, with most being around 2mg) were manufactured as opposed to coming from a natural source. Thus only the specific bioflavonoids created would be contained, not a broad sample from a natural source.   

2nd best (also best in mid-range price)
This was Solgar Kangavites multi. Cost of 37 cents a dose. What impressed me was the use of natural vitamin D (D2) they were the only one to include this in their supplement - all others were D3. [There are questions stated to be raised about effectiveness of D3, however I have not looked into this.] It also contained carotenoids from a mixture of sources and a range of vegetable concentrates. This means it had lots of "extras" in it.

Along with all the vitamins it had Choline, inositol and lecithin, thus providing a wider range than other supplements. It had all the minerals except for boron. These minerals were in a bio-available form, although not always a amino acid chelate, if not they were salts or oxides that which the body could absorb.

Best on a budget.
Healtheries Kidscare multi vitamin and mineral chewables. At 17 cents a tablet this was the lowest cost / tablet, it is also very interesting that this came in 3rd. It had all the vitamins and most of the minerals. The minerals it did have were in a bio-available form. However it contained no boron, copper, molybdenum, nor any of the "icing on the cake" like choline, inositol, PABA or lecithin. It had higher B vitamin levels than the Solgar supplement, however in general it had lower levels of the vitamins, being lower in folic acid, Biotin, C, D and E.

So if you are unable to afford either the Clinican's or the Solgar then the Healtheries would suffice.

The remaining supplements were analyzed and wouldn't be recommended over the above three. These supplements are listed below in alphabetical order, with the reasons they didn't make the cut.

  • Blackmores Kids Multi: Was very unimpressed that they listed some of their vitamins in micro grams instead of milli grams like all other manufactures. Thus the numbers initially gave a positive impression only to look closer to find that instead of being one of the better B vitamin levels they were in fact the lowest in vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12. 
  • Microgenics Every day please: At 48 cents a dose it was at the high end. It was however missing quite a few minerals and didn't state the minerals properly so couldn't tell what level they was contained. 
  • Natures Own Child Care: This was very inexpensive, and the product reflected this.Lowest levels of vitamin E (this is expensive to purchase), no bioflavoinds and a zinc level was 0.1 micro g, where next level up was 10 times higher. And as you would expect no trace element minerals.  
  • Nordic Naturals Nordice Berries - multivitamin. Very few minerals, not labeled properly. No bioflavonids or carotenoids. 
  • Nutra-life Nutrimon Children's Multi-vitamin: Not stating sweeter straight up and has "bubble gum" flavor one would immediately question ethics of putting dodgy chemicals into kids multivitamins! For this reason alone I would not recommend it, because how can I trust a brand that doesn't behave ethically. It also had low minerals including no calcium!  
  • Nutraway Chewables. I was disappointed that this product didn't do better as Nutraway has a focus on providing the best. At 35 cents a dose being almost the average price goes against the belief that Amway products are expensive (Nutraway is distributed by Amway). However it had no minerals, which would have been ok, but it didn't have all the vitamins. It had no carotenoids, Biotin nor any Choline. Nor did it have any inositol, PABA or lecithin which would have pulled it up the ranks so to speak.    
  • Radience Kid's multi boost chewables. Didn't state minerals correctly, it generally had lower vitamin levels than other supplements. 
  • Swisse Children's 1 Children's Ultivite 1 - Calm and Children's 2 Children's Ultivite 1 - Stamina. These didn't make the cut as low range of minerals. It also failed the calcium/magnesium ratio test. The magnesium level should be about half the calcium level. This ratio was way out being about 30:1 !  
  • Thompson's Junior Immunofort. This one almost made it onto the approved list (up until this post we had been purchasing this). However it didn't have many of the trace elements. No boron, chromium, molybdenum or selenium. However the minerals that it did contain were very bio-available and it contained all the vitamins. Close but no cigar.    
  • Twin-Labs Animal Friends: Very expensive at 76 cents each. Did not list the minerals in such a way that real levels could be determined. Also lacking a number of minerals. Cannot see the justification for absorbent prices.   
  • Yummi Bears Multi-Vitamin and Mineral: I was very shocked to find it didn't contain all the vitamins missing B1, B2, B3, B6, Biotin and choline.
Hope this helps - we are going to change the supplements that we give or kids!Now I should really be enabling purchases of these three brands through me web site...... or would I lose my "independence?"

If I have missed any kids supplement feel free to email me a link to it and I will add it to the review and update appropriately.

PS for those who are interested I can provide the excel spreadsheet that I created to compare between supplements. Drop me an email and I can flick it out to you.  

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