Zinc supplement for kids

Zinc is important for children's growth, and if they aren't getting enough zinc from what they eat, your doctor may suggest giving them zinc supplements.

Children having fun during mealtime

Key takeaways:

  • Zinc is vital for the proper growth and development of children. This is why zinc supplement for kids is worth exploring.
  • Zinc deficiency could suppress the immune system and leave children prone to diarrhea. It can also lead to other complications, like growth retardation and skin conditions.
  • Beef, cheese, and milk are excellent dietary sources of zinc for your child.

Zinc is an important mineral that plays a critical role in several body functions, including wound healing, immune system functioning, and growth and development.

Zinc is found in many foods, like red meat and chicken, but it might not always be available in enough amounts for kids. As a result, zinc supplements have become increasingly popular among parents looking to support their children's health and well-being.

But with the many different supplements available, picking the best one for your child can be tricky.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of zinc for kids, the potential risks of zinc deficiency, and how to choose the best zinc supplements for your child. We will also discuss the recommended daily zinc intake for children of different ages and highlight some of the best food sources of zinc that you can include in your child's diet.

Benefits of zinc supplements for kids

Children need all the necessary nutrients they can get for proper growth and development. Zinc is one of those key nutrients that plays a major role in the well-being of kids.

Let's consider five key benefits of zinc for kids and why it is so important:

  1. Supports immune system function: Zinc is important for a functioning immune system as it aids the proper formation of lymphocytes and antibodies, which protect the body against infections and illnesses.
  2. Promotes growth and development: Zinc is essential for children's growth and development, particularly bone growth and nervous system development.
  3. Supports cognitive function: Zinc is important for cognitive function, including memory, attention, and learning.
  4. Aids in wound healing: Zinc plays a critical role in the healing process, helping support the body's natural healing response. This is why zinc may help with acne treatment.
  5. Reduces the risk of diarrhea: Zinc supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of diarrhea in children, and this is particularly beneficial in developing countries where diarrhea is a leading cause of childhood mortality.

How much zinc supplement should a child take?

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Zinc supplements for children are available in various forms, such as chewable tablets, liquid drops, and gummies. It is, therefore, important to follow the dosage instructions for each zinc supplement formulation to ensure your child gets the appropriate amount of zinc. 

The daily zinc intake needs of children vary based on age and developmental stage. The following are the daily zinc requirements for kids:

  • Infants (0-6 months): 2 mg/day
  • Infants (7-12 months): 3 mg/day
  • Children (1-3 years): 3 mg/day
  • Children (4-8 years): 5 mg/day
  • Children (9-13 years): 8 mg/day
  • Adolescents (14-18 years): 11 mg/day for males, 9 mg/day for females

The recommended daily zinc intake is based on average requirements and may vary depending on a child's individual needs. Before giving your child any new supplements, you should also talk to your child's doctor.

Symptoms of zinc deficiency in children

Zinc deficiency is a public health issue that affects millions of children around the world, especially in developing countries.

Since the body doesn't have a special way of storing zinc, it needs a constant supply of this mineral. Sadly, some children don't get enough of it from their meals and experience zinc deficiency.

The symptoms of zinc deficiency in children can vary and may be difficult to detect early. Some of the symptoms of zinc deficiency include:

  • Growth retardation: Zinc deficiency can lead to stunted growth and development in children.
  • Delayed wound healing: Zinc is essential for wound healing, and a zinc deficiency can lead to delayed healing of wounds.
  • Skin rashes: Zinc deficiency can cause skin rashes, and if the zinc deficiency is severe, serious skin conditions like perineal dermatitis may arise.
  • Diarrhea: Zinc deficiency is a leading cause of diarrhea in children, particularly in developing countries.
  • Decreased appetite: Zinc deficiency can lead to decreased appetite, contributing to malnutrition and other health problems.
  • Impaired immune function: Zinc is crucial for immune system function, and a zinc deficiency can lead to an increased risk of infections and illnesses.

Though these symptoms are not exclusive to zinc deficiency alone, it is important to visit a doctor with your child for a proper medical diagnosis. This will help avoid further complications that may arise as a result of zinc deficiency, such as anemia.

How to choose the best zinc supplements for your children

With numerous zinc supplements available, finding the right one guaranteed to give your children the necessary nutrients without causing harm could be challenging. 

So how can you choose the best zinc supplements? Here are some tips that you can consider.

  • Consider the form of the supplement: Zinc supplements are available in various forms, including chewable tablets, liquid drops, and gummies. Choosing a form your child is comfortable with and can easily consume is a priority.
  • Check the dosage: Make sure to choose a supplement that provides the recommended daily intake of zinc for your child's age and developmental stage. It is also essential to follow the dosage instructions on the packaging carefully.
  • Look for reputable brands: Choose a supplement from a reputable brand that has undergone third-party testing for quality and purity.
  • Check for additional ingredients: Some zinc supplements may contain additional vitamins and minerals, such as calcium or magnesium, which can benefit your child's health. However, be cautious of supplements that contain too many added ingredients or fillers, as they do not add any nutritional value and could be harmful in some cases.
  • Consider any allergies or dietary restrictions: If your child has allergies or dietary restrictions, make sure to choose a safe supplement. For example, some supplements may contain gluten, nuts, dairy, or other allergens which some children are allergic to.
  • Consult with your doctor: It is always a good idea to consult with a pediatrician before giving your child any new supplements. They can help you choose the best supplement for your child's needs and provide guidance on dosing and potential side effects.

Dietary sources of zinc for children

It is important for children to get enough zinc through their meals, as this supports their growth, development, and overall health.

Some of the best dietary sources of zinc that you can incorporate into your child's meals and snacks include:

  • Red meat: Beef, pork, and lamb are all excellent sources of zinc.
  • Poultry: Chicken and turkey are also good sources of zinc.
  • Seafood: Crab, oysters, and lobster are some of the best seafood sources of zinc.
  • Beans and legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, and other legumes are also good sources of zinc.
  • Nuts and seeds: Pumpkin seeds, cashew, and almond nuts are all good sources of zinc.
  • Whole grains: Whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice are also good sources of zinc.
  • Dairy: Cheese, milk, and yogurt are all good sources of zinc.

It is important to note that the amount of zinc in foods can vary depending on factors such as soil quality, processing, and cooking methods.

Therefore, it is essential to incorporate a variety of zinc-rich foods into your child's diet to ensure that they are getting enough of this important mineral.

Wrap up

Zinc is crucial for your child's growth, and if your children aren't getting enough through their diet, it's important to discuss with a doctor whether you should consider giving them zinc supplements.

A deficiency of zinc in children can lead to health problems like diarrhea, growth retardation, and impaired immune system function. However, not all supplement products may be best for your children. Ensure you buy from reputable brands, and check for recommended dosage and product ingredients before purchasing zinc supplements for your child.


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