Essential Nutrients: What Parents Should Know for Their Kiddos

In this blog, we will talk about essential nutrients that help support healthy growth and cognitive development in children.

Swaddles of Joy:

So… I met my newborn niece a few months ago and let me tell you, it was an unforgettable and truly awesome experience. First and foremost, my niece is the most beautiful little girl I’ve ever seen. Second, I’ve never seen my sister more tired. Perhaps she could use some energy, but that’s a blog topic for another day. Spending time with my niece and watching my sister and my brother-in-law plan her bottles, vitamin K syringes, and daily schedule got me to thinking: What are the essential nutrients that are so unique for a growing child? Plus, with a new school year just around the corner, those essential nutrients to help support your child’s health is always an important conversation to have. Let’s talk about some key nutrients every mom and dad should have in their repertoire.

An Egg A Day & Choline Comes Out to Play!

Remember when it was all the rage to hate on eggs? For a long time, it felt like eggs got a bad rap for being a source of saturated fat. Then, a few years later, eggs were suddenly all cool again? Yeah, it’s confusing to keep up with all the trends. Let me help you out with something that’s not a trend, but instead a reliable and essential nutrient to support growing children. The key nutrient? Choline. Where can you find it? Eggs! (Plus! Eggs are usually one of the very first foods we introduce to infants – coincidence)?

  • Choline is an important nutrient that supports methylation, cell-to-cell communication, cognition and liver function.1
  • Children’s’ daily choline requirements range from 200 mg (1 to 3-year-olds) to 375 mg (9 to 13-year-olds) and rise during adolescence (400 and 500 mg/day for girls and boys, respectively).
  • Multivitamins seldom provide significant amounts of choline.  But the 15-30mg found in our PureNutrients Gummy is a convenient way to boost daily intake for children ages 2 and up.2 

Plus! The nice thing about PureNutrients Gummy and Junior Nutrients, is that while they may only contain 10-30 mg of choline per serving, they provide a full range of essential B vitamins, such as folate in the form of 5-MTHF (Metafolin®),a universally metabolized form of folate that bypasses certain genetic variations that can limit folate assimilation.3‡

One Fish, Two Fish, Three Fish, More Fish!

When I was growing up, my mom used to cook me and my sister either salmon patties, haddock filet or a tuna casserole two times a week. When my sister and I complained, (like most young kiddos) my mom would simply say, “Too bad! It’s good for you!” My sister and I would usually comply in a Calvin-and-Hobbes-like manner, but eventually eat what was presented to us on our plate. Back then, I didn’t know the immense benefit my fish dishes were providing me as a kid. Now? I know better -- guess my mom was right!

  • Fish oil supports healthy cellular membrane function, cytokine balance and blood flow to promote cognitive and neuronal health, emotional well-being and cardiovascular function.4,5,6,7‡
  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) from fish oil encourage cardiovascular health by supporting healthy lipid metabolism, maintaining healthy blood flow and promoting healthy platelet function.5,6,7‡
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid, is a component of neuronal cellular membranes and supports healthy neurotransmission and brain function, as well as vision.8‡

I think it’s safe to say, when it’s my turn to figure out dinner selections for my future children, in addition to salmon patties, a PureNutrient EPA/DHA Gummy will also make an appearance.

Where the Sidewalk Ends & Chromium Begins…

Chromium is another important nutrient (and probably won’t be any child’s first words any time soon). It’s a popular key contributor for many children’s vitamins and minerals. If your child isn’t a veggie eater, particularly broccoli, then choosing a children’s multivitamin with chromium may be an option to consider.

  • Chromium is a trace mineral that plays an important role in lipid metabolism, in part by maintaining healthy enzyme activity.9,10,11
  • Optimal levels of chromium promote healthy carbohydrate and fat utilization.9,10,11

Depending on whether your child does best with a liquid version or a chewable tablet, both our LiquiNutrients and our PurePals are a good supplemental source of chromium. If your kiddos would rather pretend that broccoli on their plate is a sprouting tree rather than a healthy veggie they need to eventually put in their mouths, then consider these multivitamins to help support their daily wellness.

Iron: Meet Steel’s Big Brother

Another important mineral found naturally in foods like green vegetables, nuts, seeds and most animal-based proteins, is iron. In fact, iron is important to many cellular activities within the body, that many whole grains such as wheat products and (most likely) that cereal your kid loves to munch on first thing in the morning, are fortified with iron to help make sure that we are getting enough.

  • Iron is an important component of hemoglobin in red blood cells and myoglobin in muscle cells where it is required for oxygen and carbon dioxide transport.12
  • Iron is necessary to manufacture myoglobin, a transporter of oxygen found in muscle tissue, which causes the chemical reactions that initiate muscle contractions.12
  • Vitamin C enhances the intestinal absorption of iron.13

Trivia time! Not all Pure Encapsulations children’s vitamins contain iron. Although iron may be an essential nutrient and may be very supportive for cellular, metabolic and muscle function, too much has the potential to possibly lead to bowel irregularities. That’s why some of our bestselling products, like PurePals is offered both with and without iron. Plus, our Iron-C provides 15mg of elemental iron paired with 175mg of Vitamin C for optimal absorption. The tolerable upper limit of iron for infants is 40mg and only goes up from there.14 Just remember, any questions about elements and what the right dosing is for your child should be directed to a healthcare provider as they know your little one’s health history and would be best at finding the dosing right for them!

What Happens at Daycare is Making Its Way Home:

When I was a kid, I used to get strep throat three times a year. It was awful. I remember the frequent trips to the doctor’s office, my throat burning and on fire and then one of the nurses or the pediatrician herself would take a giant swab that looked like a popsicle stick (just without the yummy popsicle flavor) and stick it down the back of my throat, swirl it around. I would try my best not to gag. The only good part of the trip was that at the end of my doctor’s office visit, my mom would take me out for a milkshake afterwards. I didn’t know then that I was bringing home with me the germs and infections I probably picked up at school or at daycare.

  • Nutrients such as Quercetin, Zinc and Vitamin C, like those found in our unique PureDefense Chewables formulations, may help support immune function.
  • EpiCor® contains numerous immune enhancing bioactive metabolites from Saccharomyces cerevisiae that support both innate and adaptive immune response. Research suggests that it enhances natural killer cell activation, B cell and T cell function, and secretory IgA levels.14
  • Elderberry extract provides immune-supporting anthocyanins, flavonoids and other polyphenols. Studies have shown effective immune support in all age groups.15
  • Quercetin maintains healthy histamine production by supporting healthy enzyme activity. Zinc and vitamin C, provided as the non-acidic enhanced retention Ester-C®, help boost immune defense by supporting immune cell proliferation, activation and function, as well as healthy antioxidant enzyme function.16,17

Growing Up & Moving On:

When I look back on my own childhood, I think about the fond memories of my sister and I taking our essential nutrients together in a convenient and fun dinosaur-shaped multivitamin. In the same way that children’s bodies are constantly changing and developing, our knowledge about the essential nutrients children require is also developing and expanding. When I hold my niece, it’s reassuring to know there are options available that are specifically designed to support the growing needs of children. After all, they are our pride and joy, why wouldn’t we want to nurture them with pure goodness? 

    1. da Costa KA, et. al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jul;84(1):88-94
    2. Office of Dietary Supplements - Choline. (2017).
    3. Prinz-Langenohl R, et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2009 Dec; 158(8): 2014-2021.
    4. Nilsson A, et. al. Nutr J. 2012 Nov 22;11:99.
    5. Casanova MA, et al. J Am Soc Hypertens. 2017 Jan;11(1):10-19.
    6. Masuda D, et al. Atherosclerosis. 2020 Jan;292:163-170.
    7. McEwen BJ, et al. Semin Thromb Hemost. 2013 Feb;39(1):25-32
    8. Cho E, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2001; 73:209-18.
    9. Grant KE, et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997 Aug;29(8):992-8.
    10. Rabinovitz H, et al. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2004 May;74(3):178-82.
    11. Balk EM, et al. Diabetes Care. 2007. 30(8); 2154-2163.
    12. Chan LN, Mike LA. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2014 Aug;38(6):656-72.
    13. Hunt JR, Mullen LM, Lykken Gi, et. al. Am J Clin Nutr. 1990. 51(4); 649-655.
    14. Jensen GS, Redman KA, Benson KF, et. Al. J Med Food. 2011 Sep;14(9):1002-10.
    15. Tiralongo E, Wee SS, Lea RA. Nutrients. 2016 Mar 24;8(4). pii: E182.
    16. Science M, Johnstone J, Roth DE, et. al. CMAJ. 2012 Jul 10;184(10):E551-61.
    17. Mlcek J, Jurikova T, Skrovankova S, Sochor J. et. al. Molecules. 2016, 21(5), 623

 These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Metafolin® is a registered Trademark of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.