6 Important Nutrients Your Teen Might Not Be Getting Right Now

Teenagers are incredibly busy people. For them, life is a never-ending cycle of excitement, activity and emotion. And really, why shouldn’t it be? There are activities worth trying, relationships worth forming, and opportunities worth seizing. Life is theirs to embrace. Even now — as so many of us spend our days inside our homes — the bustle of teenage life hasn’t slowed. Amidst all the banana bread recipes and TikTok dance videos, it can be hard to find a spare moment. Life may seem more leisurely (or stressful, depending on your situation) for the rest of us, but for teenagers, it’s as abundantly exhilarating as ever.

Seeing teenagers live their lives with such verve is an inherently beautiful thing. But it tends to come with a downside: amidst all this activity, teenagers might not be getting all the vitamins and minerals they need. Yes, teenagers are masters of doing it all. But that “all” tends to encompass going to school, playing sports, joining clubs and making friends. Once you throw in “having fun” and “sleeping,” there’s little room for anything else. The fact that they do all of that is impressive enough. Is it really reasonable to expect them to read up on nutrition, too?

Thankfully, there are ways to help the teenager(s) in your life get the vitamins and minerals they need. And many of those ways are easier (and less time-consuming) than digging through a ton of nutrition recommendations. One good place to start? Familiarizing yourself with the vitamin and mineral inadequacies that are most common among American adolescents, and buying a multivitamin —like Alive!®  Teen Multivitamin — that covers those bases.

1. Calcium

Calcium is a mineral that does all kinds of things. It keeps your bones strong, it helps your muscles move, and it helps your nerves communicate with the rest of your body, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).* Most Americans get their calcium from dairy products, but it can also be found in some grains, some fish and some leafy green veggies. Though adults between the ages of 19 and 70 need about 1,000 mg of calcium per day, teenagers need even more — the recommended daily amount of calcium for those aged 14-18 is 1,300 mg per day.

Though calcium can be found in many diets, the NIH notes that many teenagers don’t get enough of it — specifically, boys between the ages of 9 and 13 and girls between the ages of 9 and 18. There are a number of reasons someone might not get enough calcium. The primary reason is that their diet may be low in calcium (vegans and lactose-intolerant individuals are both likely to avoid dairy products, which are high in calcium). There are also ways that calcium absorption can be impacted by other dietary components (calcium absorption can be more efficient when paired with vitamin D, and less efficient when paired with caffeine or some plant-based acids).

Thankfully, most multivitamins offer some amount of calcium — paired with some amount of vitamin D, which can help your body process that calcium more efficiently. The Alive! Teen Multivitamin, for example, contains 130 mg of calcium and 30 mcg of vitamin D3. Even better: It’s entirely dairy-free, making it a great option for those whose calcium intake is low due to lactose intolerance.

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D supports a number of the same functions as calcium: It helps with muscle movement and immune function, according to the NIH.* As noted earlier, it also helps the body absorb calcium — which keeps bones strong and healthy. The main dietary sources of vitamin D are from fortified foods, like milk and breakfast cereals. Other sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. And yet another common source of vitamin D is direct sun exposure. The NIH recommends that adults and teens alike get 15 mcg of vitamin D each day.

According to the NIH, Americans of all ages may be consuming inadequate amounts of vitamin D. Since sources of Vitamin D are two-fold, there are a couple of reasons this could be happening. For starters, those with diets low in milk and fatty fish may be missing out on some of the most significant sources of vitamin D. The other reason? Your body can synthesize vitamin D from the sun. People who spend their days indoors may not be getting a ton of sun exposure, which could be limiting on the vitamin D in their system. One 2007 study found that low vitamin D status was more common during the winter, when people were spending less time in the sun. (This finding is especially relevant right now, as many of us are spending an unusual amount of time indoors.)

As mentioned earlier, many multivitamins include some amount of vitamin D. The Alive! Teen Multivitamin offers a full 30 mcg of vitamin D3 — that’s 150 percent of the daily value — so you can rest assured knowing your teen is getting plenty of vitamin D, even if they’re spending their days inside.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a nutrient that protects cells from damage, helps produce collagen and contributes to immune function, according to the NIH.* Fruits and vegetables can be excellent sources of vitamin C, and the nutrient can also be found in some fortified foods and drinks. The NIH recommends that teen girls consume 65 mg of vitamin C each day, and that teen boys consume 75 mg of vitamin C each day. (That number is slightly lower — 45 mg — for adolescents 13 and under.)

According to the NIH, most Americans get enough vitamin C through the foods and drinks they consume. But people who eat few fruits and vegetables may not be getting as much as they need. Since vitamin C supports immune function — and since immune function is (naturally) on the mind right now — it may seem more important than usual to ensure your teen is getting enough vitamin C.*

Vitamin C is among the standard nutrients included in most multivitamins. The Alive! Teen Multivitamin, in particular, offers 18 mg of vitamin C — that’s 20 percent of the daily value.

4. Full B Complex

B vitamins — like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, biotin and pantothenic acid — are important for a number of bodily functions. Thiamin contributes to cell growth, development and function. Riboflavin contributes to energy production, cellular function and the metabolism of certain substances. Vitamin B6 contributes to metabolism and immune function. Folate contributes to DNA production and cellular function. Vitamin B12 contributes to cellular formation and neurological function. Biotin helps transform food into energy, and pantothenic acid does, as well.

Put simply: The B vitamin complex does a lot. And since B vitamins are available in so many different kinds of foods (some are found in whole grains, other are found in lean meats, etc.), it can be hard to ensure your diet offers the recommended daily intake of every single one. Of particular note is the fact that teenage girls — between the ages of 14 and 18 — often don’t get enough folate in their diets, according to the NIH.

Fortunately, the Alive! Teen Multivitamin offers the full vitamin B complex. You can get 100 percent of the daily value of five B vitamins (including folate), and 25 percent of the daily value of three B vitamins.

5. Iodine

Iodine is a mineral that helps the body make thyroid hormones, which help regulate the body’s metabolism.* Iodine can be found in fish and dairy products, and it’s often consumed in the form of iodized salt. The NIH recommends that both teens and adults consume 150 mcg of iodine each day — that’s about the amount found in half a teaspoon of iodized salt.

Because iodized salt is used widely in the United States, most Americans get enough iodine in their diets. But if you’re among the 12 percent of Americans who don’t stock iodized salt in their homes and you’ve been doing a lot of home-cooking, your diet may be low in iodine. Some multivitamins include iodine in the mix of nutrients they provide. The Alive! Teen Multivitamin, in particular, offers 150 mcg of iodine in the form of potassium iodide — that’s 100% of the daily value of the mineral.

6. Lutein

Lutein isn’t an essential vitamin or mineral, but it is a carotenoid that researchers think could play an important role in the health and function of the eye.* Lutein can be found in a handful of food sources, including peppers, spinach, kale, squash, corn, carrots and eggs.

The NIH doesn’t offer a recommended daily amount of lutein yet. However, research indicates that lutein can help maintain macular pigment levels in the eye, which helps the eye filter blue light from the sun, LED’s and digital devices.

And with this in mind, the Alive! Teen Multivitamin offers 10 mg of lutein as a cherry on top of the 17 other vitamins and minerals it provides.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article was created by SheKnows for Alive! Teen Multivitamin.

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