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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Ann Arbor, MI!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

The Healthiest Children’s Vitamins: 2019

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Note: I update this post monthly to ensure all of the information is accurate! The original post was created in 2017, but the most recent update has been done as of April 2019. If you’re looking for the best adult vitamins, go to this post.
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 Kids Vitamins can be confusing. There are so many questions: Is there a such thing as an “unhealthy” kids vitamin? Do you need a vitamin with iron? Which vitamins are the best? Do kids even need vitamins at all?
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Recently, I was talking with a friend and realized that a lot of these questions can be really overwhelming because there is so much information out there! So I did a bunch of research and found the healthiest kids vitamins out there today. This is your guide to multivitamins for kids: what to buy, what not to buy, and what to look out for!
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So first of all, do kids even need vitamins to begin with? 
Most pediatricians will tell you that it’s not necessary for most healthy children who are growing normally (source). For kids who eat well and eat a variety of food, they can get all of the nutrients they need from whole foods. But many kids are very picky, or don’t eat a lot of food, or aren’t growing well, and that makes a lot of parents worried that they aren’t getting the nutrients they need! In those cases, I’d recommend talking to your pediatrician, and if they suggest giving your child a multivitamin then definitely do so.
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When buying a multivitamin, what should you look for? 
So to start, kids multivitamins generally come in two groups: 1) With Iron and 2) Without Iron. You should buy a multivitamin that doesn’t exceed 100% daily value of most of the vitamins for your child’s age group – primarily Vitamins A, E and K (that will be indicated by the label on the back). The exception here is for Vitamin C and other water-soluble vitamins. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin but is ok to have at more than 100% of the daily value because most people are deficient (including kids) and Vitamin D isn’t toxic unless it’s in exceptionally high doses which wouldn’t be in a daily vitamin. If the vitamin does have more than 100% of A, E and K then I would just give your child half the dose on the bottle.
It’s also important to look for the ingredients that are added to the tablet that aren’t vitamins. Ingredients like: Sorbitol, carrageenan, artificial colors and flavors (Red #40 anyone?), aspartame, sucralose, to name a few! You definitely don’t want to be dosing your child with these ingredients on a daily basis along with their multivitamin.
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So let’s start with what not to buy:  The answer here is most of the commercially available, leading brands of multivitamins. The biggest offender of which is Flinstones Chewable Vitamins. 
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What’s crazy is that on the label, Flinstones calls out that they are “Pediatrician’s #1 Choice.” And most people do buy Flinstones vitamins! I even remember eating them when I was a kid. They tasted so good! It was like a treat every morning. And if you are giving your kids Flinstones vitamins right now, don’t feel bad! You are not alone, and thanks to all of the deceptive marketing out there, there’s no way you’d know that Flinstones isn’t the best choice for any child. Before doing all of this research I didn’t realize how problematic they were, and why it’s important to switch away from them.
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The reason they are problematic, is because there are a ridiculous number of offensive ingredients in Flinstones Vitamins that truly, should not be there at all, and are not necessary. Take a look at two of their best sellers (I’ve highlighted in red all of the ingredients to avoid):
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Sorbitol, Mannitol, Fructose, Sodium Ascorbate, Ferrous Fumarate, Silicon Dioxide, Carrageenan, Natural and Artificial Flavors, FD&C Red #40 Lake; Less Than 2% Of: Aspartame†, BetaCarotene, Cholecalciferol, Cyanocobalamin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, FD&C Blue #2 Lake, FD&C Yellow #6 Lake, Folic Acid, Magnesium Stearate, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Soy Lecithin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Acetate.
Granulated Calcium Carbonate (Calcium Carbonate, Dextrose Monohydrate, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Microcrystalline Cellulose), Sorbitol, Sodium Ascorbate, Ferrous Fumarate, Natural and Artificial Flavoring, Pregelatinized Starch, dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate; Less Than 2% Of: Beta-Carotene, Biotin, Calcium Pantothenate, Cholecalciferol, Cupric Oxide, Cyanocobalamin, FD&C Blue #2 Lake, FD&C Red #40 Lake, FD&C Yellow #6 Lake, Folic Acid, Gelatin, Magnesium Oxide, Magnesium Stearate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Niacinamide, Potassium Iodide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Phytonadione, Riboflavin, Silicon Dioxide, Soy Lecithin, Sucralose, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Acetate, Zinc Oxide.
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Let’s take these one by one:
  • Sorbitol and Mannitol are sugar alcohols. They have been known to cause digestive issues and discomfort in some people because they can’t be digested properly by the body.
  • Carrageenan is an emulsifier that thickens products, but it has been linked to high levels of inflammation in the body, digestive issues, etc.
  • Maltodextrin: this is an indicator that the food is highly processed. It’s used as a thickener, filler, or preservative in many processed foods, and it can cause spikes in your blood sugar because it has a high glycemic index.
  • Natural and Artificial Colors – Red #40, Blue #2, Yellow #6. I mean, #wtf. What are these doing in a kids vitamin? These are so problematic and have been linked to all kinds of health problems including allergies, hyperactivity, learning impairment, irritability and aggressiveness.
  • Artificial flavors – also highly processed and unnecessary in a kids vitamin.
  • Aspartame and Sucralose – this is what diet sodas are sweetened with, and are highly controversial. Research hasn’t proven one way or the other whether they lead to long term health issues, but it has been proven that they cause an insulin-response by the body (because your body thinks you are eating sugar when you are not – source). If you wouldn’t give your child a diet coke, you shouldn’t give them a vitamin with this in it!
  • Mono- and Diglycerides is one of the most widely used emulsifers to keep oil and fat from separating. It’s just an indicator that the food is processed.
  • Oh, and gelatin. While this isn’t a harmful ingredient, it kind of sucks for any vegetarians or vegans out there who are giving their kids this vitamin without knowing that it’s not actually veggie-friendly.

So what should you buy instead? What’s the healthiest multivitamin out there? 

Luckily there are tons of options! Below is a list of my favorites: they all are made with natural ingredients, have no weird preservatives or any of the ingredients above added, and some even derive the vitamins from organic food sources which I absolutely love because they are better absorbed by the body that way. Most of these will have a tiny bit of cane sugar or fructose added, but as long as it’s less than 4g per serving it’s not a huge issue.

Note: ALL of the vitamins I recommend below do NOT contain gelatin. They are all vegetarian friendly!

With Iron:
Without Iron:

Liquid Vitamins Without Iron:

  • ChildLife – it’s a little higher in sugar than I’d like, but you can start using it at 6 months of age (the other two options are for older kids)
  • Children’s Advanced – no sugar added and you can use it starting at 1 year of age
  • Bio Naturals – this one has a probiotic added and you can use it starting at 1 year of age. It does have “natural flavors” which is not ideal, but I haven’t found a liquid vitamin with probiotics that has a cleaner ingredients list yet!
  • Premium Children’s – no sugar added and you can use it starting at 4 years of age
  • Tropical Oasis – sweetened with xylitol (just note that’s a sugar alcohol) and you can use it starting at 4 years of age

Iron Only Supplement: is a good option if you go with a multivitamin without iron, because it will add the iron missing from those vitamins back into your child’s diet. I like Nature’s Nutra because of its super clean ingredients list!

For Omega 3s: The primary Omega 3 supplement I’d recommend for kids is Nordic Naturals. They have an infant DHA supplement and a children’s DHA supplement – both of which are extremely pure, has no added preservatives or sugar, and are in liquid form so they can be added to just about anything! ChildLife Cod Liver Oil is also a good option for kids starting at 6 months of age!

For Vitamin D: If you’re just looking for a Vitamin D supplement – e.g. in the winter, I love (and use) these Vitamin D Drops. There is literally nothing added to them (no flavors, colors, etc.). They are liquid and you only need one drop in your child’s milk per day. They’re marketed for infants, but you can use them for any age. Super easy, tasteless and pure. For another great option, UpSpring makes a pure vitamin D with only coconut oil added.

For ProbioticsI love Garden of Life’s line of probiotics – they are shipped cold and their powdered kids probiotic can be added to your child’s drink (milk, water, etc.). They also have a kids’ chewable probiotic if you need an option that doesn’t require refrigeration (but it does have maltodextrin). Two other probiotic options that I like are PROKids and Dr. MK’s Natural Probiotic (the only caveat with Dr. MK’s is that it’s sweetened with sorbitol which is a sugar alcohol).

Runner Ups:

  • Solgar. This is one I’d get only if you can’t find any of the other ones on the list above, because while most of the ingredients are good, it does have carrageenan which – as I mentioned – it’s better to avoid.
  • YummiBears Organic Multivitamin (note: this vitamin does have cane sugar added – if you give your kids the full dose then it’s 6g sugar which is more than I would like in a vitamin)
  • Seeking Health (Note: The link may say women’s/mens but the label indicates this can be used for kids aged 4 and up. It’s also good for kids with MTHFR mutations. But I am waiting for a response from the company on the prop 65 warning on its label, so I’ve moved them down here for now!)
  • Natures Plus (another one that has a Prop 65 warning! Pending response from the company, I’m moving it down here for now!)
  • Nature’s Way Alive! The only downside to these is they are sweetened with sorbitol – which is a sugar alcohol that can be irritating to the digestive system. Other than that though, their ingredients look good!

I hope this helps you in navigating the world of kids’ vitamins!

If you’re looking for healthy meal inspiration in addition to the best vitamins for your child, pick up a copy of my newest cookbook here!

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536 responses to “The Healthiest Children’s Vitamins: 2019”

  1. I reference your site often, thank you!
    I’ve heard some not so great things about Zarbees which i have been giving my kids. I’m looking for the best Elderberry or immune support gummy if you have any suggestions.
    much appreciated!

    • Hi Vanessa! Can you share more about what you’ve heard about Zarbee’s? If it’s really a problem then I’ll remove them from this list so would love to know what you’ve heard! For an alternative to Zarbee’s – I’d recommend Olly Kids. It has Elderberry along with other immune boosting ingredients. It does have gelatin (so it’s not veggie friendly) but as long as that’s not an issue for you it should be a great option. Hope that helps!

  2. I am using vitaspectrum from klair lab. Just noticed that it doesnt have iron and my son has low ferritin.
    Can you please suggest some good iron/ ferritin suppliment for 5 years old.

  3. Hello! Thank you for this post! I was hoping you (or someone) could answer a question I have. I’ve been giving my son NovaFerrum since he was 4mo as an iron supplement and switched to the multi-vitamin with iron when he was 10mo (as he started to naturally decrease his breastmilk increase in favor of solids during the day). The other day I was looking over the ingredients list more carefully, and noticed it includes Benzoic Acid. I can’t find information on this ingredient. Is this ingredient safe for infants? Thank you.

    • Hi Lindsay! Benzoic Acid is a preservative and is categorized as safe by the FDA, but I don’t love it because when combined with Vitamin C it can form benzene (which is a carcinogen). This article explains it pretty well. That’s actually why I don’t recommend NovaFerrum as an iron supplement for kids and instead recommend Nature’s Nutra which has a cleaner ingredients list. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. Hi!

    What are your top 3 choices for kid’s supplements to increase appetite? Preferably chewable and with probiotics.

    Thanks!

  5. Hi, this is all very helpful. My son is 6 months old. He’s been almost excursively breastfed (supplementing with formula occasionally). And we’re starting to explore solids, but not really rushing it. My pediatrician recommending using a multivitamin. I tried Zarbees but he doesn’t really like the taste and I don’t like that its so sticky and seems to stain. I was going to switch to Rainbow light. I wanted to know if you can recommend a DHA. I know nordic naturals seems to also contain vitamin D. Since there is vitamin D in most multis, I wasn’t sure it would be too much for him?

    • Hi Keri! I’m so glad this post was helpful! For DHA, I’d go with this infant DHA from Nordic Naturals. It has 75% of the daily value of Vitamin D for your little one, and Rainbow Light has 50% of the RDA for vitamin D. So you would be a little bit over. I’d ask your pediatrician if that’s ok and if they say it is, then you can go ahead and give both supplements. Otherwise for DHA you can also use ChildLife Cod Liver Oil which only has up to 20% the RDA for Vitamin D — and then you wouldn’t really be overdosing at all. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Hi Anjali,
        Thanks so much for the reply. Your blog is so helpful and your responses are all so thoughtful. I’ll definitely ask my pediatrician. Do you have any thoughts on Nordic Naturals vegetarian infant DHA? It doesn’t seem to contain vitamin D.

      • Hi Keri! The vegetarian infant DHA from Nordic Naturals is totally fine to use. It doesn’t include Vitamin D, but you can always just supplement with Vitamin D separately. Recent research has shown that both algae-derived DHA and fish oil have similar bioavailability, so it doesn’t really make a difference which one you use. Hope that helps!

  6. Thanks so much for the great information that so long I’m searching for the best multivitamin for my 8 yrs ol day daughter since she’s very picky eating.Last month I just bought childlife multivitamins for her. Is this good good vitamins no artificial ingredients?

    • Hi Grace! If you bought this vitamin from ChildLife then yes, it’s great! It’s a little higher in sugar than I’d like, but other than that it has good ingredients. If you’re looking for a liquid vitamin with good ingredients that has no sugar added then I’d recommend this one from Premium Children’s. Hope that helps!

  7. Hi my son has sickle cell disease,he takes folic acid every day.but don’t eat and not getting weight what vitamins or mutivatimin you recommend me please sorry my English is not to good!!

    • Hi Jennifer! So sorry to hear that your son struggles with sickle cell anemia! That must be so stressful! Regarding which vitamins – deficiencies of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folic acid occur more frequently in people with sickle cell anemia than in others – so I’d focus on a vitamin on this list that has a good amount of those b vitamins. If your son is 4 or older, Thorne Research would be the best option for him. If he’s younger than 4, then Super Mini Multi would work well. Hope that helps!

  8. Hello please help me here. i am a mother of a 2yrs and 4 months old son. he was on formular and never ate well at all. one morning he woke up and left milk as well. know i am struggling to feed my kid as he is very picky. refuses healthy foods. I see him and I see that he needs something to help him get all the eccentials to grow healthy everthing. please advice me which one will be best for my son.thank you

  9. Hi,

    I have a 2yr with bowl irregularly. Which multi vitamin you recommend with added fiber plus probiotic that’s for his age?

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