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  • September 01, 2015

Should we use gummy vitamins – some opinions from Indian Pediatricians

Concern shared by a Pediatrician on a Doctor’s only Forum regarding using Gummy Vitamins in Indian children.

“Any sticky and sugary item are potential trigger for caries teeth. Generally the vitamins in kids are prescribed in situations like

1) clinical and lab documentation def, eg Vit-D,

2) during recovery of relatively prolonged illness 

3) obvious PEM

4) placebo or succumbing to parental pressure specially time consuming parents in a busy opd

I have not prescribed gummy vitamins . Most do accept liq form”

My answer:

Valid points and concerns that are surely shared by many pediatricians across the country.
Let me try to give a slightly different opinion for your perusal.
What are the estimates regarding Vit Deficiencies in otherwise healthy Indian children (school going)
The various nutritional surveys suggest the following
Ferritin: 50 to 88 %
Folate: 30-to 50 %
B 12: 62 to 80 %
Vit D : 50-90 %
Sources:
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/2/693S.full
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3137939/
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12098-013-1091-y/fulltext.html
http://medind.nic.in/ibv/t13/i7/ibvt13i7p669.pdf

Hence, we need to advise a GOOD DIET. BUT even if this is done, there is a good chance that many of the kids will remain deficient. And this can impact their brain development and lead to cognitive effects as well.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3137939/

I would urge Pediatricians to consider checking for Vitamin levels in some of the healthy kids whose parents “ASK” for vitamin supplements.
We have a Dietitian who advises parents regarding dietary changes as well, but I believe that vitamins supplement may have a role to play in a far larger group of children than we currently acknowledge.

Regarding sticky & sugary sweets, 1 gummy vitamin (CHUBEARS) contains 2.2 gm of sugar (less than half a spoonful) and if we take it with meals, and brush teeth twice a day as routinely recommended, this is not likely to cause caries, in my opinion.

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