It is no secret that younger people, especially teenagers have voracious appetites. Of course, it is obvious why. A growing body has more need for nutrients and vitamins. It is therefore important that children and teenagers alike get adequate amounts of nutrients and minerals to promote growth. While ideally this should be entirely consumed in the form of a balanced diet, many people choose to complement it with sports nutrition supplements. There is, unfortunately, a crowd of misinformation surrounding this subject, and this post is here to clear some up and inform parents of the best practices regarding supplements.
Is your child getting enough nutrients?
If you’re feeling the urge to rush to the best online health food store you know and order crates of the best supplements, hold on a little bit! First, ask yourself whether your child really needs them!
Children’s nutrition needs are different from adults but require smaller amounts overall. Most important are the nutrients that promote bone growth, like Vitamin D and calcium. Calcium is of course found in dairy, and vitamin D is manufactured by the body.
In addition, minerals like zinc, iron, and vitamins A, B12, and folate are necessary for the development of brains. While children may need less of these minerals, they do need them nonetheless.
A diet with plenty of greens, fruits, dairy, and protein should be more than enough to ensure optimum nutrition, but in some cases, such as non-breastfeeding infants, or picky eaters, supplements might be a good option.
What kinds of supplements are available?
Not all supplements are created equal. While some are benign, like vitamins and minerals, there are some that have more serious side effects, like steroids. Let’s take a look
Creatine or Protein
Athletes, especially bodybuilders often take this supplement to promote growth in their body. It is often promoted by sports nutrition stores as a promoter of hypertrophy. While creatine is an effective tool for adult athletes, younger ones do not see changes as big.
Steroids are a controlled supplement, meaning they cannot be obtained without the prescription of a doctor. This is due to their propensity for being abused, and having side effects that are horrible, such as loose skin, heart problems, and kidney problems.
Vitamins and Minerals
A safe supplement, vitamin supplements are full of iron, folate, and other vitamins. While there are no major side effects, they are less necessary with a varied diet.
While they may not appear to be so at first glance, Energy drinks are a source of stimulants like caffeine and taurine. Caffeine is listed as a performance enhancer for adults, though the effects are quite variable. It has not been studied as well in children, however.
Should you give supplements?
If you believe that your child’s diet is not varied enough for them to get their necessary minimums of vitamins and minerals, by all means, get the vitamins and minerals. Children who are serious athletes may also consider protein supplements to augment their training and recovery. The children most in need of supplements are those with different diets, such as children who are
- Have stomach conditions that affect their ability to absorb certain minerals
- Are fussy about what they eat
These children are more likely to need supplements than others due to the constraints of their diet.
Steroid Use is quite risky, and should only be prescribed by a registered sports doctor. Do not take steroids without the guidance of a registered medical practitioner.
In summation, sports nutrition supplements are a good solution to the problem of imbalanced diets. They are not a panacea to better performance, however, and should be treated with care and caution by the parent. And remember, always supervise your children to monitor their intake and make sure they are operating within safe limits.