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Should children take vitamins with iron?

Iron is an important mineral for children. It helps them grow and develop properly, and it plays a role in many bodily functions. That's why it's important for kids to get enough iron in their diet. Iron is found in many foods, but some children may not be getting enough from their diet alone. That's why it's important for some kids to take a vitamin that contains iron. In this article, we will discuss when children should take vitamins with iron, and what parents can do if they feel their child may be deficient in this nutrient. Let's get started!

kid holding iron vitamin pills

What is Iron? 

Iron is a mineral that is found in food. It is an important part of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. Iron also helps muscles store and use oxygen. Without enough iron, children may have low energy and their growth may be hindered. The most prevalent nutrient deficiency in the world is iron deficiency. In the United States, it is estimated that 10% of children are iron deficient.

Why Do Kids Need Iron? 

Children need iron for many reasons, but the most important is that it helps carry oxygen in the blood. This is crucial for brain development and growth, as well as supporting energy levels and a healthy immune system. Children who do not get enough iron may become tired and lethargic, and their growth may be stunted.

Benefits of Iron for Kids

There are many benefits of iron for kids, including:

1) Helps carry oxygen in the blood:

The most important function of iron in children is that it helps carry oxygen in the blood. Oxygen plays a key role in brain development, growth, and energy levels in children.

According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world, and young children are particularly at risk.

2) Helps prevent anemia:

Iron is vital for good health, and one of the biggest problems that iron deficiency can cause is anemia. Anemia is a condition in which the blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. This can make kids feel tired and weak.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, taking a daily multivitamin that contains iron can help prevent anemia. It is especially important for kids who are at risk for iron deficiency, such as those who have a poor diet or who have trouble absorbing iron from food.

Anemia can also cause developmental problems in young children. Studies have shown that babies and toddlers with anemia are more likely to have delays in their cognitive development, such as in their learning, language skills, and problem-solving abilities.

3) Boosts cognitive development:

Iron is essential for cognitive development in children. Studies have shown that iron deficiency can lead to problems with learning, behavior, and attention. The main cause of iron deficiency in young children is dietary insufficiency.

According to Dr. Bruce Cordell, Associate Director of the Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida, “Iron is critical for child development, and is a nutrient that can easily become deficient in young children’s diets.”

The cognitive effects of iron deficiency are most pronounced in children between the ages of six months and three years when the brain is developing rapidly.

4) Supports a healthy immune system:

Iron is also important for a healthy immune system. The immune system is the body’s natural defense against illness and infection. "To keep your child's immune system strong and robust, ensure their iron intake is adequate either by including iron-rich foods in the diet or by supplementing when appropriate," says Victoria Whittington of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who are deficient in iron are more likely to get sick. This has been shown for both common childhood illnesses, such as the cold and flu, and more serious infections.

Studies have shown that iron deficiency can lead to a decrease in the production of white blood cells, which are the cells that fight infection.

5) Supports energy levels:

Children who are iron deficient may also have trouble maintaining healthy energy levels. Iron is necessary for the body to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that provides energy to the cells in our body.

For children, adequate iron intake is important for maintaining healthy growth and development as well as healthy energy levels.

There are many important benefits of iron for kids, including boosting cognitive development and supporting a healthy immune system. Because of this, it is important for kids to get enough iron in their diet. This can be done by eating iron-rich foods or taking a daily multivitamin with iron.

little boy kid eating raspberries from his fingers

What are the Signs of Iron Deficiency? 

Iron deficiency can cause several symptoms in children. Common signs include:

1) Fatigue, weakness, or lack of energy

The main symptom of iron deficiency is fatigue. Kids who are weak and tired may find it difficult to concentrate, perform well in school or sports, or engage in their usual activities.

2) Shortness of breath

Iron helps transport oxygen to the blood. In iron deficiency, the transport of oxygen in the body is decreased. Your child may experience shortness of breath if he or she is iron deficient. This is especially the case if your child participates in sports or other physical activities, like walking, climbing stairs, or running.

3) Rapid heartbeat

A heart that beats faster than normal (tachycardia) is another sign of iron deficiency. A racing heart may be a sign that your child is not getting enough oxygen to the rest of his or her body.

4) Pale skin

Pale skin is a common symptom of iron deficiency. This is because iron is needed to make hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that gives blood its color. If your child's blood doesn't have enough hemoglobin, it loses its red color and looks pale.

5) Difficulty concentrating or learning difficulties

Your child may have a hard time retaining new information or remembering things he or she has learned. This could be a sign that your child's brain is not getting enough oxygen, which can happen if there's not enough iron in the diet.

6) Poor appetite, weight loss, and growth stunting

If your child isn't eating enough or isn't getting enough nutrients from his or her diet, it can lead to poor growth. This includes weight loss and a failure to grow at a normal rate. If your child is not growing, eating well, or getting stronger like his or her friends, it could be a sign of iron deficiency.

7) Restless legs syndrome

This is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs. It is often worse at night and can make it hard to sleep. Restless legs syndrome is more common in people with iron deficiency.

8) Pica

Pica is an illness in which people are compelled to ingest non-food items, such as soil, clay, or ice. Research has found that children with iron deficiency are more likely to develop pica than those who do not have iron deficiency.

While all of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, it's important to talk to your child's doctor if you notice any of them. "A simple blood test can determine if your child is iron deficient. If your child is diagnosed with an iron deficiency, he or she may be prescribed iron supplements to help address the problem.

little girl eating tomato with plate of broccoli vegetables on table

Can Kids Take Vitamins with Iron?  

"Children should not take adult supplements containing iron. Adult vitamins are not dosed appropriately for children and may contain unsafe amounts of this mineral," says Whittington. Iron supplements are the leading cause of death from overdoses in young children. If a child takes too much iron, it can cause serious health problems like liver damage, organ failure, and death.

The best way for kids to get iron is the First Day Kids Daily Essential. It is a safe, effective, and convenient way for kids to get the vitamins and minerals they need every day.

Our Top Recommendation

If you are looking for an excellent iron supplement for your child, we recommend Kids Daily Essential by First Day. This supplement is designed specifically for children and contains a child-appropriate dose of iron, as well as other essential vitamins and minerals to support growth, brain health, and immune function.

You can learn more about Kids Daily Essential by First Day here.

 

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