Pediatrician: Supplements I give to my kids

Pediatrician: Supplements I give to my kids

Dr. Whitney Casares gives her children only four types of supplements.
Whitney Casares/Jordan Lai/Getty Images

  • Dr. Whitney Casares is a Portland-based pediatrician who has spent years studying how to keep children healthy.
  • She gives her children four nutritional supplements every day.
  • She gives them vitamin D, fluoride, probiotics, and melatonin.

Dr. Whitney Casares is a pediatrician, author and Podcaster Who has dedicated her career to making sure mothers and their children are healthy and happy.

As a mother of two young children, Casares also knows how hard parents work to keep their children healthy, and how difficult it can be to navigate child health recommendations.

For example, walking down the nutritional supplement aisle at the pharmacy can quickly become stressful, and it can be difficult to know which supplements can help keep your kids healthy. So Insider asked Casares what supplements she gives her kids.

For most children, especially if they’re getting a balanced diet, “they really don’t need any supplements at all,” Casares said. But sometimes there are specific cases where a child may benefit from nutritional supplements.

Here are the four supplements Casares gives her kids.

Vitamin D

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In high latitude areas, such as Portland, Oregon, where Casares lives, it can be difficult for children and adults to get enough sunlight to meet daily vitamin D needs.

“Sometimes, we won’t get more than 15 minutes of direct sunlight for eight months of the year,” Casares said.

To make sure her kids get enough vitamin D — which is essential for supporting healthy bone development in children — she gives them vitamin D supplements.

“In the summer, if parents want to skip Vitamin D and keep their kids out of the sun – that’s great!” Casares said. “But often parents continue to take vitamin D because that gives them consistency over time.”


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Depending on where you live, your children may also benefit from fluoride, Casares said. Fluoride is essential for healthy tooth development, and while some cities add fluoride to their drinking water, others do not.

“In the Portland metro area, we don’t have any fluoride in our water,” Casares said. “So I recommend that parents who do not live in areas where fluoride is added to their water, give their children a fluoride supplement.”

The dose of fluoride your child needs depends on his or her age, Casares said, so she recommends parents discuss dosage and frequency with their child’s pediatrician.

In addition, Casares said she recommends that children brush their teeth with fluoride-fortified toothpaste. “Just a grain of rice the size of a grain of rice twice a day is amazing.”

If you’re not sure whether or not the water in your area already contains fluoride, you can check with most states that use it This map.


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If her children are prescribed an antibiotic to treat a bacterial infection, Casares will give them probiotics to promote healthy gut bacteria.

“If a child or adult of any age is receiving an antibiotic for something like pneumonia or an ear infection, I want to make sure we’re introducing healthy bacteria at the same time that the antibiotic is trying to get rid of them,” Casares said. Of unhealthy bacteria for our body.”

She recommends giving children 1 year or older a probiotic containing 20 billion colony-forming units for the duration of the antibiotic regimen, and for a week afterward.

“This also applies to a child who has a gastrointestinal illness such as diarrhea or vomiting,” Casares said.

For children taking antibiotics, she recommends a probiotic that contains this strain Lactobacillus.



Melatonin for children is controversial because “we don’t have a lot of studies that show long-term effects of melatonin on children’s sleep architecture or on brain development,” Casares said.

Additionally, there is some concern about melatonin in children due to some researchers I wonder if it can delay pubertyalthough more research is needed.

However, a specialist recommended it Melatonin For each of her children individually to help them sleep. Her eldest child has autism, while her youngest has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Both of these conditions can make it difficult for children to sleep.

While both of Casares’ children take melatonin, she certainly doesn’t recommend it for all children.

“I would be very careful when it comes to melatonin,” Casares said. “Go to your pediatrician to see if the benefits of using melatonin outweigh the risks.”

This applies to all nutritional supplements, she said. While some supplements can be beneficial for children, Casares said it’s important to talk with your child’s pediatrician first.

Just because something is “all natural” doesn’t mean it’s good for your baby.

“I always remind myself that poison oak is natural too, and poison ivy is natural, and I don’t want to rub that on my skin,” she said.

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