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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 Seattle, WA!); 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! 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)
  • Bio Naturals – this one has no sugar added, 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 relatively its super clean ingredients list. For older children (or with pediatrician’s approval for babies) – this one from Gaia Herbs has the cleanest ingredients list I’ve found and is nonGMO!

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). Three other probiotic options that I like are Klaire LabsPROKids 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! This is what they have said regarding Prop 65: “Proposition 65 was passed in California in 1986 and requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. The list includes over 800 chemicals and compounds, including some which occur naturally in the environment and some common substances that are beneficial when used in appropriate doses. In order to comply with California Proposition 65, we print a warning on every invoice being shipped into the state of California. Some of the substances on the Proposition 65 list occur naturally in both the environment and the human body and also exist naturally in many of the foods we eat. Therefore, it can be expected that trace levels of the same chemicals would be detectible in virtually all herbal and natural dietary supplement products. If you would like further information on Proposition 65 please contact The Food and Drug Administration or The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Outreach and Information Center, maintains a consumer information hotline at the following number: Toll-Free Information Line: (888) 723-3366.”
  • 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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678 responses to “The Healthiest Children’s Vitamins: 2019”

  1. I may have missed a response to someone else. What are your thoughts on plexus xfactor kids? I was thinking of giving my 1 year old these because it’s a multivitamin and probiotics. He had issues with dairy and probiotics seem to help with that.

    • Hi Kristina! No problem! Overall Plexus is pretty good – they just have two ingredients in their vitamins that I’m not a huge fan of: 1) Hydroxypropyl Cellulose – which I don’t love as an emulsifier because it’s made from refined wood pulp – but it’s not harmful as far as I can tell from a research standpoint – it’s not absorbed by the body so it just passes through and 2) Xylitol & Erythritol – which are sugar alcohols. In the quantity that’s in the vitamin it’s probably fine – sugar alcohols are to be avoided in large quantities because they can cause gas/bloating/diarrhea – but again, in the quantity used for the vitamin it’s probably ok! Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  2. What would you recommend for my 7 year ole who is strictly G- tube fed and has never eaten by mouth? We need a liquid multivitamin with iron & the only one i can find are for babies and he is too big for those. He has lived off pediasure with fiber in his feeds. He has been tube fed since birth and is only 30 pounds.

  3. Hi Anjali
    I have an 8 year old who doesn’t eat much veggies and isn’t into cheese, milk or yogurt. He was diagnosed with child tic disorder back in 1st grade. They diminished over the last year but recently came back with multiple tics. He was taking the Flinstones which now I’m stopping after reading your article, what’s a good chewable vitamin you might recommend? I also plan to get him on magnesium and B6 supplements which I read May help calm his tics

    • Hi Hilda! I actually hadn’t heard of them but the ingredients look pretty decent considering they are made of chocolate haha! They’re higher in calories than most vitamins and on the higher side of sugar (4g per serving) but other than that they aren’t bad at all!

  4. Hi Anjali ,
    Thank you for your blog I am so lost there’s just so much out there! I’m so indecisive what would you recommend the best vitamins for a picky 2 year old, she’s tiny and was majority breastfed as well for 8 year old doesn’t drink enough milk and is picky aswell .

  5. Thank you so much for this post, Anjali! It’s so helpful! I’m on the market for a multi-vitamin for my daughter, but my head spins when I look at all the different options. Do you happen to know of a brand that doesn’t have any sweetener in it? Also, I’m on the First Day bus. They look good, but I would love to hear your take on them onyou’re done vetting them.

    Thanks for the info!

  6. Hi Anjali-I just bought my kids the Smarty Pants multi vitamins that also contain Omega 3 in them, it’s the bottle with a red lid. Do you recommend this? My kids are 4 and 7-years-ole. Thanks!

  7. Hi, great info! How about floradix kinder love children multivamin supplement? Have you done any research on it? Thank you.

    • Hi Veronica! That vitamin has 5g sugar per serving – equivalent to 1.25 tsp sugar which is a bit much. I’d recommend one of the lower sugar vitamins on my list! Hope that helps!

  8. Hi! My 6 year d daughter is lactose intolerant and her doctor recommended she take a calcium supplement (400 mg/day). Which brand would you suggest? I’m having trouble finding one that has 200mg or 400 mg.
    Thanks!

  9. Hi Angali, I have a 10 year old that’s a very picky eater, she will not take a chewable or gummy vitamin. Do you have any suggestions for a pill form vitamin that would help her?

  10. Hi Anjali.
    Love your site. I used a lot of your recipies when my daughter was born. Now she is 2 and trying to get some vitamins for her. I did purchase zarbees gummy for toddlers today based on your post. But at the same time i wanted to see if you’ve heard about Lil Critters by Vitafusion? I couldn’t find any info about those.

    Thanks in advance!

  11. This site is so helpful! I’m currently giving my six and two year olds Bio Naturals for their multivitamin. I also give each of them a separate probiotic, but now I’m wondering if that’s overkill. What are your thoughts?

    I stumbled upon your website while looking for more information on First Day vitamins. Do you feel they would be a better choice for my six year old? My two (almost three) year old won’t do any kind of gummies so they are out for her. Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Stephanie! I’m so glad this post was helpful to you! To your question – I don’t think a probiotic is overkill since BioNaturals actually has a prebiotic included, which is just like healthy food for the probiotics to thrive. So I think a probiotic would complement BioNaturals well. If you’re looking for a good probiotic you can use for both kids, I’d recommend this one from Garden of Life since it’s appropriate for both ages. For First Day, I’m actually right in the middle of working with them to get more info about their vitamins! On first glance they look good but I’ll update this post once I have fully vetted and sampled their vitamins! Hope that helps!

  12. Hi Anjali,

    This is very informative, thank you! May I please have your opinion on IntraKID Liquid Multi? A friend recommended it for my 3 year old son, but there are so many ingredients, that I am unsure if their are any in particular that may not be good. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
    https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/intrakid.html

    Thanks!

    Lindsay

    • Hi Lindsay! IntraKid actually has good, beneficial ingredients and it’s sweetened with monk fruit so it’s not too high in sugar. But it’s not appropriate for a 3 year old. The packaging says age 4 and up, but because of all the additional herbs/etc added to it, I’d probably wait and use it for an older child (10+ yrs old). Hope that helps!

    • Hi Minal! I’m currently working with the FirstDay team to get samples to try as well as get more info on their sourcing practices! So far, everything looks great to me, but I’ll update this post when I have finished vetting them!

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