Best Multivitamins for Children in 2021

#1
Whole Food Multi for Teens by NATURELO
Score: 8.9
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#2
Alpha-Teenby MegaFood
Score: 8.7
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#3
Active Health Teenby Rainbow Light
Score: 8.3
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Comparison of Multivitamins for Teenagers

Supplementing your teenage child's diet with a daily multivitamin can be one of the best things you can do for their health. There are 13 vitamins and 14 essential minerals that a teenager needs in order to grow and develop properly. Here are several examples of what some of these essential nutrients can do for your teen:

  • Vitamin A: improves eye health, repairs damaged tissues
  • The B vitamins: boost metabolism, produce energy
  • Vitamin C: fights infections, reduces the duration of colds
  • Vitamin D: improves bone, heart and brain health
  • Calcium: builds strong bones and teeth
  • Iron: needed for red blood cells, stimulates muscle growth

What is the best multivitamin for teens?

As you might suspect, not all multivitamins are created equal. Supplements vary significantly in quality amongst the different manufacturers. For example, the vitamin C in Product A may not be as potent or bioavailable as the vitamin C in Product B.

To help you navigate through the maze of vitamin supplements for teenage boys and girls, we've analyzed a number of different multivitamin products, specifically designed for tenagers. We rated each of them on four key parameters by using a scale from 1 to 10, with ten being the highest score.

Effectiveness Scores of Multivitamins for Teenagers

The table below provides a summary of the Effectiveness Scores of multivitamins for teens that are currently available on the market in the US

RankMultivitaminScore
1 Whole Food Multivitamin for Teens
by NATURELO
8.9
2 Alpha-Teen
by MegaFood
8.7
3 Active Health Teen
by Rainbow Light
8.3
4 Enhanced Energy Teen
by KAL
7.9
5 Teen Supreme
by Maxi-Health
7.6
6 Teen Complete Gummy Vitamins
by SmartyPants
7.2
7 Teen Multivitamin
by GNC Milestones
6.9
8 Power Teen Chewable Multi-Vitamin
by Nature's Plus
6.8
9 M.V (Multivitamin) Teen
by Futurebiotics
6.3
10 Doctor's Choice For Teens
by Enzymatic Therapy
6.2
11 Teen Boys Tabs
by Michael's Naturopathic Programs
6.1
12 Mega Vita-Min for Teens
by Puritan's Pride
5.9
13 Teen Multivitamins
by Piping Rock
5.8
14 Vitacraves Teen
by One A Day
5.7
15 Teen Sport Multivitamin
by Vitafusion
5.6
16 Complete Multivitamin for Teens
by Yum-V
5.5


Findings of the Comparison

After evaluating all products we noticed several recurring issues:

  • Some products, especially the gummy multivitamins, lack key nutrients. We have given those products a lower Composition score.
  • Some manufacturers use cheap ingredients (frequently sourced from China) which don't get absorbed well by your body. We have given those products a lower Bioavailability score.
  • Many products contain high vitamin and mineral doses which are more appropriate for adults consuming 2000 calories a day rather than teenagers. Since this increases the risk of an overdose, we have given these products a lower Safety score.

How Are the Scores Calculated?

Here is more detail on what goes into calculating each of the scores:

Composition

This metric represents how many of the 13 vitamins and 14 essential minerals are included in the product. Surprisingly, a number of products are missing key ingredients, such as iodine, chromium, and magnesium. We also consider the number of additional active ingredients because lesser-known nutrients, such as choline, inositol, and lycopene have well documented health benefits, but are typically not included in the more basic multivitamin formulations. We give extra credit to products that contain such beneficial compounds.

Potency

Our potency score has two components: the chemical form of the nutrient, as well as the total amount of each nutrient contained in one serving. Depending on the chemical form of the nutrients it uses, Product A can be several times more potent than Product B. For example, Magnesium Citrate contains 16.2 percent of elementary magnesium, while Magnesium Oxide contains 60.3 percent of elementary magnesium. A product containing magnesium in the Oxide chemical form would be 3.7 times more potent when it comes to that one nutrient than a product containing magnesium in the Citrate chemical form.

Bioavailability

Bioavailability is the portion of a given active ingredient that is capable of being absorbed through the intestinal membranes so it becomes available for use by the cells and organs of the body. A given nutrient can come in many different chemical forms and some of these forms may be more bioavailable than others. For example, a study by the University of Texas published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology showed that one common form of calcium, called Calcium Citrate, is 2.5 times more bioavailable than another popular form, called Calcium Carbonate. Based upon these findings, we've assigned a lower Bioavailability score to products containing Calcium Carbonate rather than other, more bioavailable forms of calcium.

Safety

When it comes to teen multivitamins, we put safety first. We prefer a less potent, but safer product, rather than a product packed in nutrients that are well in excess of the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs). The standards against we measure potency and safety of teens multivitamins are based on the RDAs for teenage boys and girls 14 to 18 years of age, as put forth by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council.

When determining the Safety scores, we look for two things:

1. Harmful additives. We analyze the list of ingredients to see if any artificial flavors, preservatives, coloring, sweeteners and binding agents are included. All such ingredients are then cross-referenced against an ingredient safety database to check for compounds with potential toxicity. Points are deducted from the Safety score of each product that includes substances with potential toxicity.

2. Risk of overdose. We cross-reference every single ingredient to make sure it falls within the safe Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL) for teens as set out by the Food and Nutrition Board. Ingredients that exceed the UL get a deduction in their Safety rating. For example, the vitamin A UL for teens aged four to eight is 3000 IU; however, quite a few products contain 5000 IU and higher. When teens take multivitamins that exceed the UL for vitamin A, they can experience side effects, such as fatigue, nausea, and irritability. To avoid this risk, keep an eye on the Safety score of the product you are considering.

Overall Effectiveness

To calculate the Overall Effectiveness score of a given product, we take the average of the other four scores: composition, potency, bioavailability, and safety. For best results, we recommend choosing a multivitamin product that has an Overall Effectiveness score of 8.0 and above.

 

How much do teenagers need of each vitamin and mineral?

The ultimate goal of multivitamin supplementation is to elevate the level of vitamins and minerals in your bloodstream so they can reach the cells and organs that need them. Each nutrient has an optimal range for effective functioning of the body. If teenage children have too little of a given nutrient, they can suffer a deficiency disease. If they have too much, they may develop undesired side effects such as diarrhea and nausea.

For the optimum range of each vitamin and mineral, please see the table below which was published by the National Academy of Sciences and lists the RDA and the UL of each nutrient. In this data, the RDA is the minimum amount of the nutrient a healthy person has to have through their diet or by taking supplements. The UL is the maximum amount of the nutrient a person can consume on a daily basis without risking any side effects. If there is not enough data to assess the potential for adverse effects in a particular age group, ND (Not Determined) will appear in the column.

Table 2: Optimal range of vitamins and minerals for teenage boys and girls aged 14 to 18

NutrientUnitRDA for boys aged
14-18
RDA for girls aged
14-18
Vitamin A mcg 900 700
Vitamin Cmg 75 65
Vitamin D mcg 15 15
Vitamin E mg 15 15
Vitamin Kmcg 75 75
Thiaminmg 1.2 1
Riboflavinmg 1.3 1
Niacinmg 16 14
Vitamin B6mg 1.3 1.2
Folatemcg 400 400
Vitamin B12mcg 2.4 2.4
Panto. Acidmg 5 5
Biotinmcg 25 25
Cholinemg 550 400
Calciummg 1300 1300
Chromiummcg 35 24
Coppermcg 890 890
Iodinemcg 150 150
Ironmg 11 15
Magnesiummg 410 360
Manganesemg 2.2 1.6
Molybdenummcg 43 43
Phosphorus mg 1250 1250
Seleniummcg 55 55
Zincmg 11 9
Potassiumg 4.7 4.7
Sodiumg 1.5 1.5

 

What are the different measurement units in the RDA/UI table?

The following measurement units are used in the table: mcg, mg, g and IU.

1000 mcg (micrograms) = 1 mg (milligram)

1000 mg (milligrams) = 1 g (gram)

IU stands for International Unit. It represents a measurement of a particular substance based upon its effect or activity within the body. Since the IU is established for each nutrient independently, it cannot be used to compare one nutrient to another in the same fashion as one can use grams to compare the mass of one substance to another. For example, 100 IU for vitamin D is not the same as 100 IU of vitamin E.

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