Like children and adults, teenagers also need to take vitamins. In fact, other than during pregnancy and breastfeeding, teens have a greater nutritional and energy requirement than any other period of their lives.
With rapidly growing and changing bodies, teens have unique vitamin and mineral needs.
Essential Vitamins for Teens
Teens especially need the following vitamins.
- They require B12 and folic acid because of the rapid development of tissue synthesis.
- Teens need zinc, magnesium, and calcium for strong bones and to increase bone density.
- They require vitamins A, C and E to ensure newly formed cells function in a healthy manner.
- They need Vitamins D and B6 in greater amounts during the teen years for healthy skeletal and tissue growth.
- As the amount of calories intake increases, the requirement for vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin B3 increases as well.
Many teenagers are not getting enough of the essential nutrients their bodies need to stay strong and healthy.
- During the teenage years, zinc, iron, and calcium are frequently at lower levels than their recommended amounts.
- Vitamin C and vitamin A are often low.
- Many teens consume too much refined carbohydrate foods.
- Many teens consume too much high sugar.
- Teen phosphorus intake is often too high because of an over-consumption of soft drinks and energy drinks. This often has a negative effect on their calcium levels as well.
As a general rule, those teens who skip meals tend to eat less food. These teens who skip regular meals also tend to eat fewer healthy snacks, such as fruit. Consequently, they have the most inadequate diets of all.
Boys and girls may have different nutritional requirements.
Some experts recommend extra vitamin A and zinc for male teens. There are many benefits of vitamin A. Vitamin A fights free radicals and also benefits the immune system. Also, vitamin A helps to support clear skin.
Often times, the acne boys experience during their teenage years from hormone growth can be successfully counteracted by vitamin A.
Teenage girls need lots of calcium, vitamin B6 and iron. Vitamin B6 is involved in certain hormonal processes of the menstrual cycle. Furthermore, rising levels of estrogen also lead to the need to take more vitamin B6.
Iron deficiency can occur in teenage girls because they lose iron monthly during menstruation. Calcium ensures strong bones and helps prevent osteoporosis later in life.
When shopping for vitamins for your teens, don't be fooled by packaging. In Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology, Marcia Nelms, Kathryn Sucher and Sara Long report that multivitamins marketed toward adults are also appropriate when used by teenagers, and in some cases, may be sold at a lower price.
Consider some of the vitamin options listed below for a quality product that will meet the needs of your teens.
- Nature Made Multi Complete Tablet: In addition to being a rich source of vitamins A and B6, Nature Made Multi Complete Tablets also contain high levels of calcium and zinc. The iron stores found in these vitamins makes them an especially good choice for teenage girls, who may develop iron deficiencies at the start of menstruation.
- Centrum Adults: As with Nature Made Multi Complete Tablets, Centrum Adults multivitamins contain high amounts of vitamin B6, calcium, zinc and iron. Centrum Adults contains 70 percent of the daily value needed of vitamin A - markedly more than that found in Nature Made Multi Complete Tablets. While Centrum Adults is appropriate for either gender, consider its use for teenage boys, who can benefit from increases in their intake of vitamin A.
- One A Day Adult Gummy Vitamins: Teens who face difficulty when it comes to swallowing large pills may fare well by taking One A Day Adult Gummy Vitamins, a rich source of many important vitamins and minerals. Since One A Day Adult Gummy Vitamins do not contain supplemental iron, teen girls who use this product may also want to consider taking an iron tablet.
Consult Your Doctor
Teens need vitamins just as much as every other age group. For optimal results, parents of teens should work with healthcare providers to choose an ideal vitamin supplement.