Teens ans tweens and teens are constantly on the go. Activities like sports, exercise, and play time help to facilitate the growth and development of bone and muscle tissue. Staying active also helps to promote healthy brain function and stabilize moods. All this work requires a considerable amount of energy and a regular supply of nutrients to nourish the body. Unfortunately, teens don’t always get the nutrients they need from food alone. Sometimes it is necessary to supplement their diet with vitamins and minerals in order to prevent deficiencies.
Teens and tweens are far less active then past generations thanks to TV programming, video games, and cuts to physical education programs in schools. This, along with the fact that adolescents tend to consume diets high in sugar, saturated fats and processed foods put them at high risk for deficiencies. Keep in mind that your teen has a higher likelihood of developing deficiencies if they routinely take medications or refuse to eat certain foods like fish and vegetables.
Today’s teens deal with tremendous pressures that can cause them to experience high levels of stress and anxiety. Too much of the stress hormone, cortisol, over sustained periods of time can deplete the body of vital nutrients.
Signs of deficiencies:
Although moods swings and irritability are natural responses to fluctuating hormonal changes, they can also be directly related to nutritional deficiencies. Irritability, fatigue, poor memory, or dry skin could be signs of vitamin B deficiencies.
Calcium deficiencies may show in the form of insomnia, irritability, frequent muscle cramps; while signs of low magnesium levels include constipation, muscle cramps, depression, irritability, nervousness, and hyperactivity.
Vitamin D deficiencies are common for kids and adults. Low levels of Vitamin D may cause symptoms of mood swings, dental problem, and can be a contributing factor in hormonal imbalances.
Poor skin and hair health, and slowed or delayed development could be signs of essential fatty acid deficiencies.
- Multi-vitamin – If your teen is a picky eater, consumes a diet high in processed foods, or refuses to eat vegetables, he/she could benefit from taking a multi-vitamin. This supplement will provide your teen with a spectrum of vital nutrients to include all the B vitamins; small complimentary amounts of vitamins A, C, and E; and trace amounts of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These nutrients are important for brain functions, mood stabilization, immune system support, and cell growth and maintenance.
- Calcium and Magnesium – Good sources of calcium include green vegetables, organic yogurt, and tempeh. Good sources of magnesium include bananas, whole grains, almonds, cashews, and green vegetables. If your teen does not eat these foods regularly or if they are active in sports, they may need to supplement their diet. Unfortunately, most multi-vitamins don’t provide adequate amounts of these minerals. You will find these two minerals are often packaged together into one supplement because they work best when paired. Calcium and magnesium are needed for bone growth and density, healthy teeth, good cardiovascular health and the production of hormones.
- Vitamin D – Research has shown that most kids (and adults) are deficient in vitamin D, especially if you live in an area where there is limited sunlight. Vitamin D is important for bone and tooth health. It also helps to support the immune system and maintain blood sugar levels.
- Omega-3s – If your teen doesn’t eat fish or grains, then you should definitely supplement their diet. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid and is essential for brain development and mood stabilization. Research shows that some learning disabilities can be linked to omega-3 deficiencies. Thankfully, you can find Omega-3 supplements in a variety of forms and an assortment of flavors.
- Probiotic – Regular use of antibiotics can kill off the healthy bacteria in your teen’s intestinal tract leaving them susceptible to infections and digestive issues. Be sure your teen always takes a probiotic after a round of antibiotics. Probiotics are also helpful in preventing yeast infections and good support for the immune system.