All natural children's vitamins are not difficult to find. Manufacturers use phrases such as "all natural" liberally on food and supplement packaging. However, does the phrase "all natural" guarantee a healthier product?
What Does "All Natural" Actually Mean?
There is some question as to what the words "all natural" actually mean when printed on packaging labels. "Natural" claims have caused quite a stir for the United States Department of Agriculture.
In theory, natural goods are intended to be free of artificial and synthetic elements. However, foods containing ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup will often show up in "all natural" commercial goods. High fructose corn syrup is derived from nature's gift of corn, but this sugar product is hardly naturally occurring in an isolate form. Moreover, high fructose corn syrup is not a healthy product, according to The Mayo Clinic. Consumers who are not adept at reading food labels may not recognize that high-fructose corn syrup is similar to table sugar or potentially worse. They may fall prey to the belief that a product is healthier because it features high-fructose corn syrup instead of sugar.
NaturalNews.com reports that the FDA does not regulate "all natural" claims. These words may mean absolutely nothing when posted on packaged foods. Hence, regardless of natural claims, consumers need to read nutrition labels carefully before purchasing a product. This is especially important when buying foods or supplements for a child.
When searching for children's vitamins using a traditional understanding of the words "all natural," don't purchase vitamins that contain additives, food colorings, or chemical sweeteners. A simple trick to purchasing goods that are more natural is to ensure that you recognize most or all of the ingredients on a nutrition label.
Children's vitamins are often chewable and, therefore, sweetened to make the chewing process more palatable. Children also like to eat foods that appear attractive. The need for good taste, texture, and appearance often opens the door to all sorts of chemical flavor and color enhancers.
Another way to ensure that your children's vitamins are of the highest quality is to take a step beyond "all natural" claims and purchase organic brands. The term "organic" is regulated by the FDA and exhibits much higher standards than those used for natural products.
Natural and Organic Vitamin Brands
- Hero Nutritionals manufactures the Yummi Bears organic vitamin line. These chewable vitamins are USDA organic and also allergen sensitive. They do not contain casein, gluten, or other common allergens.
- Greens Today Children's Formula features a different approach to vitamins. This food-based formula features ingredients such as spirulina to provide children with a unique assortment of phytonutrients and essential vitamins.
Food-based vitamins differ from their packaged synthetic vitamin counterparts. These vitamins attempt to incorporate whole foods into a pill form in order to ensure that consumers receive nutrients in their naturally occurring form. Synthetic vitamins feature nutrient isolates that can be derived from food or even sources such as coal tar. Essentially, even "all natural" or organic synthetic vitamins are not a truly natural product. You can read more about the vitamin source dilemma at HealthyChild.com. Do note, however, that for optimum whole food nutrition, food-based vitamins have the advantage over synthetic ones in that they are more readily absorbed into and assimilated by the body. There are many natural sources of vitamins such as brewer's yeast, cod liver oil, flax oil, fish oil, lecithin, and green foods that can affect your child's health positively without the need for special vitamin formulations.