Saturday, January 27, 2007

Vitamin C, Niacin, Multivitamins, and Children

The transformation of an egg and sperm into a young woman or young man is one of nature’s miracles of evolution. The major building blocks are proteins, fats, calcium and phosphorus. The major energy sources are carbohydrates (including sugars) and fats. The tools for construction are specialized proteins, many of which are constructed from building blocks that include vitamins and minerals. This means vitamins must be considered as essential tools used for the construction of the next generation. Read more here.

Cforyourself provides links to the vast scientific and medical literature that details the multiple roles of vitamin C in the human body. Many potential benefits of 3,000 to 30,000 mg/day doses of vitamin C are controversial, but not all. Vitamin C has been proven to reduce the severity and duration of colds at these doses. The mechanism of action has been proven to be a general anti-viral activity. Vitamin C in this dosage range is now well known as a cure for mononucleosis (type “mononucleosis vitamin C” into google for references). When talking to your doctor, I recommend pressing the point on colds and mononucleosis. These cures are validated by clinical confirmation. Statistically significant numbers of people have taken high doses of vitamin C for these two conditions and it works. The need to learn about vitamin C from activists on the internet instead of from doctors and pediatricians is shameful.

It is simply a fact that the vitamin C content of food is not always enough, and that vitamin C supplements are safe. What does this mean for expecting parents? Vitamin C and other vitamins are important tools used for the growth and development of children. The vitamin C content of food is not always enough. Vitamin C supplements are safe. Children’s multivitamins are safe. Parents should consider feeding their children vitamin C and multivitamins. Most children like to eat children’s chewable multivitamins (one per day), and 500 mg chewable vitamin C tablets (at least 2 with breakfast and 2 with dinner). I believe that parents should take responsibility for choosing a vitamin C dosage for their dependent children. I believe that some day, rearing children without feeding them vitamin C and multivitamin supplements will be as socially unacceptable as smoking and drinking during pregnancy is today.

Those who read my columns know that in addition to vitamin C and a multivitamin, I also believe that parents should take responsibility for choosing a niacin dosage for their dependent children. Like vitamin C, niacin is safe and has proven health benefits at doses many times higher than can be obtained from food. Niacin is the best treatment known for controlling cholesterol because it both lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol when taken by adults at doses of 1000 to 3000 mg/day (this is far higher than I recommend for children). I have stood behind my beliefs and raised my own two children with vitamin C, niacin, and multivitamin supplements in equal or higher doses than I recommend to others. They are now happy and healthy young adults. Today, however, feeding supplemental niacin to children is an almost unknown behavior. Niacin will need to prove its value to sick children (my kids were sick as toddlers) whose parents are willing to take the risk of being different before it will be considered by the parents of healthy children.

Vitamin D and thiamine are also important. Read more here. Vitamin D deficiency has become a major problem for children because kids today are getting less and less sunshine and using more and more sunblock. Vitamin D supplements can substitute for sunshine, and up to 1000 IU/day is probably safe. Unfortunately, for some sensitive kids, the combination of 1000 IU/day of supplemental vitamin D plus the vitamin D from sunshine will cause side effects. The safest course of action is to make sure that children get plenty of noontime sunshine wearing minimal clothing. The amount of thiamine in a multivitamin is probably enough to keep most kids healthy. As insurance, giving children one or two 100 mg thiamine tablets a week won't do any harm and will provide large benefits to children who have difficulty absorbing thiamine.

What is more important than the health of the next generation? What is more important than growing strong, smart, healthy adults from a vulnerable fetus? Today, I believe the vitamin industry is focused on curing adult ailments. This is a tough task. Vitamins are not drugs. I don’t believe the primary purpose of vitamins is to fix broken adult bodies. I believe the primary purpose of vitamins is to grow healthy adult bodies that resist illness. I believe that improving the health of the next generation can dramatically reduce the incidence of chronic adult illnesses. The key to vitality and longevity is to get off to the best possible start.


At 5:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post and very interesting inforamtion regarding Niacin. I will certainly be doing some research on this.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger Dianne said...

Thanks so much for your columns! I'm one of those parents with a sick young child with a pale face and dark circles under his eyes who cannot get help from our pediatricians. I've started him on the Vitamin C in higher doses, and he was already taking a daily multivitamin, but what does the niacin do to help?


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At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice to read your blog. My son has an excellent diet but is vitamin d defic.and his doctor told me that when you are vit d defic. your cholesterol levels rise. I have placed him on vitamin d supplement and checking his bloodwork periodically. He is also taking niacin that just happens to be in another supplement or two. What do you think would be an allowable daily dose of niacin for a 40 pound 6 year old boy with high cholesterol and low vitamin d? Would you comment

At 3:00 AM, Anonymous lorna vanderhaeghe products said...

It depends on which supplements work for the body.


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