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Do Children Need Mineral Supplements?


We must also be aware that excessive intake over years can cause iron to accumulate in the liver and heart thereby damaging their function. Therefore continuous intake is not a good idea.

Iodized salt and dairy and ensure that the body gets its supply of iodine, which plays a pivotal role in the formation of thyroxin .This hormone regulates all the body’s functions and effects the development of the nervous system.

Fluoride is important for the prevention of tooth decay. Fluoride consumed in water appears to have an effect at the root level in children before teeth erupt, as well as a surface effect after teeth have erupted. However high intake (therefore the restriction in the quantity in kid’s toothpastes) damages the bones and kidneys.

A supplement that I feel is really underrated is zinc, which is very essential in maintaining the integrity of the immune system. Deficiency makes  children  vulnerable to infections, especially diarrheal, skin and lung infections.

  • Nuts and legumes are relatively good plant sources of zinc.
  • Zinc bioavailability (the fraction of zinc retained and used by the body) is relatively high in meat and eggs.
  • Please supplement zinc during recovery from the above mentioned conditions.

The mineral magnesium is involved in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions and various cellular processes.

  • Good dietary sources of magnesium include nuts and green leafy vegetables because magnesium is part of chlorophyll—the green pigment in plants.

Copper and molybdenum are essential enzyme components and selenium is an important antioxidant. Chromium works closely with insulin to regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels.

  • Unrefined flour, nuts and cheese are good sources of these compounds.

Another supplement group that is not addressed often is that of   essential fatty acids or polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are important for the structure and functioning of cell membranes, vision, reproduction of gene expression, and nervous system function. It is good to include them in the diet.

Although I agree that a balanced diet is the best nutritional insurance, mineral supplements are necessary investments from time to time.

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Dr. Krishna Mahathi holds diplomas in Pediatrics and in the management of allergies and asthma. Years of working and interacting with children and parents have given her insight into developmental disabilities. She wishes that there was more awareness and acceptance of the issues that differently-abled children face and hopes that through this blog, she can enable thse children and their families to make sensible and informed choices.


4 thoughts on “Do Children Need Mineral Supplements?

  1. Kritika Srinivasan

    This is a super useful and informative post Krishna! I do have a couple of questions though. How can parents even get an inkling that their child may need mineral / vitamin supplements? If your child is not showing any symptoms of say iron deficiency, what can tip me off to the fact that she needs 100 days during the first 2 years of life, etc?

    Also, how can we find a balance between getting these essential minerals and vitamins from natural sources in the diet and supplementing artificially?

    Reply
    1. krishna

      Thank you Krithika. Regarding being aware of requirements I guess the only foolproof method is having your child examined by his or her pediatrician during vaccination visits.The time it usually gets overlooked is in the teenage years and that is why adolescent care and vaccination is a big priority.The guidelines in India are published by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics periodically and that’s a reliable source of researched information we apply in practice.

      Reply
  2. Kritika Srinivasan

    Please consider doing a series of posts, taking up one mineral / vitamin at a time, and explaining about symptoms that indicate a deficiency, natural sources, how to supplement. For example, it is useful to know that iron should be taken on an empty stomach or with vitamin C for better absorption, rather than simply knowing that our kid needs to take iron supplements! Would love to have a series of such posts from you – will be super useful for young parents.

    Reply
  3. krishna

    I think I will be able to do that,though it will be a challenge to not sound like a textbook.I was hoping to get queries on what I needed to expand on more and then pass on the information:)

    Reply

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