Do teens need to take a multivitamin?
Wellness trends are everywhere these days, and teen health is no exception. With influencers touting the benefits of essential oils and mindfulness apps in abundance, it's tough to know what's fact—and what just feels good. So, are vitamins and supplements worth adding to your daily routine?
"Vitamins in small quantities are essential for normal metabolism," writes Dr. Janetta L. Arellano for the Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) blog. "Our bodies don't make them, so we must get them from a well-balanced diet." Experts say the best way for teens to keep their vitamin levels on track is a healthy diet filled with a variety of fruits, vegetables, protein sources, fats and carbohydrates. However, that's just not possible for every teen, and that's where a multivitamin can help. For example, teens who are vegan or vegetarian may have low levels of iron or Vitamin B12, and picky eaters may not benefit from the Vitamin C and calcium found in citrus fruits, leafy greens and legumes.
So...why did we decide to make multivitamins for teens? Good question, fam. Basically — teens’ diets are among the worst in the US. Most teenagers are below recommendations for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other nutrient-dense foods, and also consuming too much processed food. In fact, research based on NHANES data found that “empty calories” contribute nearly 40% of daily calories for adolescents, (and about 50% of these calories come from just *six* foods: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and whole milk.* Yeah...woah. Teens crave independence, and deserve the opportunity to make choices. The main idea? There was a need, and we wanted to help meet it — you can learn even more at the link in our bio. *(Reedy et al. (2010)
We talked to Dr. Nima Alamdari, PhD—the Chief Scientific Officer at Ritual, who just released their Essentials for Teens Multivitamin for girls—about when teens might need to take a vitamin, and how to remember to take one in the midst of your busy schedule.
Why should teens take a vitamin?
"At Ritual, we have a food-first approach, meaning we believe you should aim to meet your nutrient requirements through your diet and that a multivitamin is only useful when one or more nutrients are otherwise consumed in less than adequate amounts. Regarding teens, national data shows that their dietary eating patterns are among the worst and often fall below recommendations for fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other nutrient-dense foods. For this reason, a multivitamin can help fill gaps in the diet with focus on these shortfall nutrients."
How does the multivitamin specifically address the needs of teen girls?
"One key difference you'll notice is the addition of iron. It's important for supporting blood health, and [something] young women may need more of once they start menstruating. Around 1 in 6 girls aren't getting enough iron from their diets."
How can busy teens remember to work a vitamin into their schedules?
"We aim to make it easy to add a vitamin to your daily routine and make it a ritual. That includes a delayed-release capsule design to be easy on the stomach and that can be taken with or without food. We've also uniquely focused on making the habitual consumption of a daily multivitamin more enjoyable. Taste and scent play a major part in that, so we included a mint-essence tab in each bottle to help create a fresh and pleasant experience."