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Get the knowledge you need to inform health-conscious parents about children's supplements with this comprehensive guide. From dosing to delivery systems, it's all here.
If you owned a store in Perfectville, your customers’ kids would be seduced by ripe, velvet peaches rather than red velvet cake. They’d chug kombucha instead of Coke. And they’d never get sick, tired, depressed, anxious or overweight.
In the real world, the scenario is more grim. Diets rich in processed ingredients and poor in whole foods have spawned childhood obesity, diabetes and behavioral problems. As a result, anxious parents are increasingly turning to supplements to keep their tots hale and happy.
Sales of children’s vitamins increased 79 percent over the last five years, to $170 million, and are expected to rise nearly 50 percent by 2015, according to Chicago-based research firm Mintel. Overall, children’s supplements sales hit $1.1 billion in 2008, according to Nutrition Business Journal’s “Healthy Kids’ Market Report: Supplements 2009,” and are predicted to grow an average of 4 percent a year through 2017.
Even so, Mintel researchers warn that sitting back and waiting for parents to scarf up supplements isn’t the best sales strategy: “Marketers and retailers will have to put greater emphasis on educating parents on how to choose the right vitamin combination for their child,” the researchers write.
To help you out, we asked five children’s supplements experts for their vitamin, mineral, herb, other nutrient and homeopathy recommendations for common kids' health issues, along with their thoughts on multivitamins, delivery systems, age-appropriate doses and special dietary needs. Here are their top choices.
Linda White, MD, visiting assistant professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver and coauthor of Kids, Herbs and Health (Interweave Press, 1998)
Jack Challem, author of more than 20 nutrition books, including No More Fatigue (Wiley, 2011)
Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, medical director of the Nutritional Magnesium Association and author of Homeopathic Remedies for Children’s Common Ailments (McGraw-Hill, 1999)
Audra Foster, ND, a Santa Cruz, Calif.-based primary care physician specializing in family health
Tod Cooperman, MD, president of ConsumerLab.com, which independently tests health and nutrition products and reports on their quality