Nutritional supplements for children

Nahrungsergänzung bei Kindern

Children and healthy eating? Many parents know this problem all too well. Every day they try desperately to make their children like fruit and vegetables. But many prefer chips to carrots and drink cola rather than a fresh smoothie, even though children in particular need the important vitamins and minerals for healthy development and a strong immune system. To get around this problem, there is the option of getting the nutrients they need through food supplements. In this guide, you will find important information about children's health and how special food supplements for children can support their immune system and intestinal health.

Immune defense in children

The immune system is a complex network of molecules, cells and organs. Our defenses are constantly active to protect us. In order to provide the organism with adequate protection, our immune system needs various nutrients in sufficient quantities. Protein, fat and carbohydrates alone are not enough. The body also needs micronutrients so that it can protect itself optimally from external influences. The essential nutrients are involved in many metabolic processes and influence almost all vital functions of the body's circulatory system. In order to be able to do this work adequately, they must be present in a sufficient and balanced ratio to one another.

However, our immune system only fully develops during childhood. Our immune system is already built up during pregnancy and at birth. Through daily contact with bacteria and viruses in daycare etc., the immune system learns about them and builds up its defenses. For a kindergarten child, 10 to 12 flu infections are perfectly normal, and for school children up to 7, because the risk of infection is much higher for them than for adults. It is important that children do not grow up in a sterile environment. Many parents think that this will protect their child from illness, but this only increases susceptibility in later years. From around the age of 10, the immune system then knows all the important and common pathogens. Nevertheless, it continues to learn throughout life and protects us from many illnesses until the end of our lives.

What can harm children’s immune systems?

Cigarette smoke and fine dust in the air that is inhaled through passive smoking are particularly harmful. Therefore, please make sure that you do not smoke next to your child or in a closed room (apartment, car, etc.), but only outside. Even mold that is not removed can indirectly damage children's immune systems. If they breathe in the mold spores that are spread in the air, they can infect and attack the lungs. The immune system is not yet fully developed and is much more susceptible to harmful substances that have entered the body and cannot yet completely fight them off.

Some people believe that vaccinations can also damage the immune system in children. However, the opposite is the case. Pathogens that are injected in low doses during a vaccination can already be identified by the immune system, so that it can react well to them in an emergency.

Nutritional supplements for children

Surveys also show that more and more parents want to strengthen their children and their development through nutritional supplements. There is particularly high interest in preparations that strengthen the immune system. Nutritional supplements for children are usually found in the form of sweet and fruity lozenges, gummy bears or candies that contain various combinations of different active ingredients. But please be careful: avoid an overdose in any case and stick to the recommended dosage. If you have any questions or need clarification, speak to your pediatrician before your child takes them.

Children's vitamins

Especially during growth phases or when suffering from flu infections, children need a lot of vitamins and minerals to be able to support their immune system sufficiently. But providing them with these nutrients through food is a big challenge for many parents. Children do not want to eat fruit and vegetables, and refuse salad or an apple. In order to ensure adequate intake of the essential substances, it is therefore sensible to supplement individual requirements with food supplements in order to strengthen and support the immune system and to optimally promote growth. Combination preparations are available for this purpose, which contain the most important vitamins in the recommended daily dose.

Probiotics

Another crucial factor for a well-functioning immune system is a healthy intestinal flora. This can prevent harmful substances and bacteria from settling in the intestines. Children are often particularly sensitive to intestinal problems because their immune systems are not yet fully developed. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the balance in a child's intestines is more easily upset. To counteract this imbalance, you should ensure that your children have a balanced diet and strengthen the intestinal bacteria. Another option is to positively influence the development of a healthy intestinal flora in children by strengthening the good bacteria in the intestines. So-called probiotics, which are also specially tailored to the needs of children, are suitable for this. These are lactic acid bacteria that have a supportive function for the intestines.

Even if your child is taking antibiotics, it is advisable to support their intestinal flora with probiotics. It is known that antibiotics not only attack harmful bacteria, but also those that are good and important for the body. By taking probiotics, the good bacteria in the intestine can be strengthened and multiplied.

Naturally strengthen children’s immune systems

In addition to nutritional supplements, there are many additional things you should pay attention to so that your children's health can be supported in a natural way.

Movement

At any age, sufficient exercise is important for health. This is especially true for children, so that they can let off steam and release their energy. Even from babyhood, there are various play and sports groups that encourage exercise in the little ones. Otherwise, a regular visit to the playground is also recommended. This also allows you to spend time in the fresh air.

Fresh air

Spend as much time as possible with your children in the fresh air, at least once a day, even in the cold winter months. The fear that this will increase the risk of children catching a cold is unfounded. In fact, fresh air is good for them and even strengthens their immune systems.

Enough sleep

If we don't get enough sleep, it can have negative consequences for our health, because the immune system works most effectively at night. The quality of sleep is crucial for this. The deep sleep phases are particularly important. Children need deep sleep even more urgently than adults in order to process the day's experiences. This allows the body to regenerate and continue to grow. Around 10 to 12 hours of sleep per day is recommended for children.

Healthy eating

Children's immune systems can be strengthened through a balanced, healthy diet. Several points should be considered:

  • If possible, prepare dishes with fresh fruit and vegetables, as they contain important vitamins and minerals.

  • Whole grain products are rich in fiber and support metabolism, digestion and the immune system.

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water or unsweetened teas

  • And importantly, an ice cream or a piece of cake is also allowed now and then.

Conclusion

The well-being and healthy development of children is important to every parent and is one of the most important things in life for them. That is why many parents make every effort to improve the health of their little ones. In addition to exercise, fresh air and enough sleep, a balanced diet with fruit and vegetables is important to provide the body with the necessary vitamins and minerals. But as we know, children often prefer sweets, pizza and pasta to fresh and healthy salad. Food supplements with adapted vitamin combinations specifically for children's needs can support this. This means that the daily dose of all important minerals and vitamins can be covered by one chewable tablet. But it is important to ensure that your children have a balanced and healthy diet! Because overall, food supplements are not a substitute for a balanced diet and cannot correct an unhealthy lifestyle, they can only support it.


Important: This guide is intended as a source of information only. Always consult your doctor if you have acute problems. Under no circumstances should you stop taking your medication without consulting him or her and do not change your dosage on your own.


Sources

  1. Consensus paper of the German Society for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine: Infant formula with the addition of “probiotics”.

  2. Liptay, S., Burdach, S. Probiotics in children and adolescents with intestinal disease. Monatsschr Kinderheilkd 156, 1076–1083 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00112-008-1831-7

  3. Weißenborn, A., Bakhiya, N., Demuth, I. et al. Maximum levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements. J Consum Prot Food Saf 13, 25–39 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00003-017-1140-y


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