5 Must-Have Supplements To Support Your Teenager’s Health
Somehow, my children’s peers heard that my children had never eaten a Pop Tart…
So, last year — their first year out of homeschooling and in public school — their friends made it their mission to get my kids to try a Pop Tart.
When the day came that a 7th grade bundle of joy packed a strawberry Pop Tart in his lunch for the sole purpose of having my 7th grade son try it, all my mother’s dreams came true. My son strongly, proudly, bravely stood his ground and not only refused to eat the Pop Tart, but snatched it from the other boy’s hands and slam-dunked it in the nearest trash can. He came home from school beaming with pride and couldn’t wait to tell me! I’ve never been prouder.
That is not what happened.
Not even close.
When the day came that a 7th grade bundle of joy packed a strawberry Pop Tart in his lunch for the sole purpose of having my 7th grade son try it, my kid ripped that foil package open and took a giant bite. None of my mother’s dreams came true, and he came home from school beaming with ornery-ness and couldn’t wait to tell me! 😛
Well, in all fairness, it didn’t end completely badly. He only took the one bite and handed it back to the kid. Then, he came home (ornery), told me he tried the Pop Tart, and then declared that it tasted like fake strawberry cardboard and he had no interest in ever eating another one.
Slam dunk, mommas. 🙂
The point is — my kids are away from me most of the day now. I feed them a nourishing breakfast. I help them pack nourishing lunches. Then, I feed them nourishing suppers.
But what they eat when they’re away from me??? I have zero control over.
5 Must-Have Supplements To Support Your Teenager’s Health
And, I don’t need to control it. (Uh, you better believe I have to remind myself of this every. freaking. day. It’s hard letting go, Mommas.)
They’re learning to be independent humans, and they need to experiment with stuff like Pop Tarts on occasion. I refuse to be an over-bearing helicopter mom who polices every morsel entering my kids’ mouths.
I mean, I can show them the Pop Tarts ingredient list all day long, but if they’re dead-set on trying it, I can only hope that they find Pop Tarts as disgusting as I do and move on with life.
Knowing that I don’t have complete control over what they eat when they’re away from me, I simply try to enhance their already mostly very healthy diet with some well-chosen supplements to support my teenagers’ health.
At least, if they’re taking these regularly, I have a bit of peace. So, here are our 5 must-have supplements to support your teenager’s health!
#1 — Probiotics
Without a doubt, your teenager’s gut health is by far his or her most valuable asset (or worst nemesis).
Gut health is the foundation of overall health. After all, Hippocrates is famously remembered for this one-liner: “All health begins in the gut”.
Many teenagers experience a rollercoaster of hormones, skin breakouts like wildfires, and attitude problems enough to start World War III. Yet, maybe you’re less aware of the fact that all of the aforementioned — hormones, skin health, mental/behavioral health — have roots in the gut.
A healthy gut teeming with beneficial flora = healthier hormones, fewer skin breakouts, and fewer emotional eruptions. (I highly recommend you check out Gut & Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to learn more and even heal your teenager’s breakouts and hormone imbalances by healing their gut!)
Since it might be difficult to get your teenager to pack fermented foods in her lunch or take his own container of sauerkraut to sleepovers….. (Uh, can we just stop for a moment and fantasize about our teenager carting around his own container of kraut??) …….. Ok, back to reality.
You get it, right? How do we keep their gut healthy when we can’t control what they’re eating half the time?
I breathe a little sigh of relief every morning when my kids take theirs. Because I know that, come sugar in FACS class or a dare to eat a Pop Tart at lunch, a few billion beneficial organisms have found their way into my children’s intestines and will benefit their immune systems, hormones, digestion, and more.
Here are the probiotics my 12-year-old and 14-year-old are taking. My coupon code ALLTHETHINGS gets you 10% off!
#2 — High Quality Fish Oil
True story: fish oil healed my daughter’s DefCon5-level dandruff.
Even after we tried essential oils and coconut oil and new shampoo… I asked our naturopath, and she simply said, “Fish oil.”
Fish oil provides precious fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 that are essential to support your teenager’s healthy growth and hormone balance. When these vitamins are taken in by the body, their benefits are far-reaching: healthier hair and skin, restorative sleep, fewer sugar cravings, healthy growth, and more! (Read 5 Ways To Support Your Child’s Brain During Cognitive Leaps.)
Some studies even suggest that fish oil may help reverse the effects of junk food on the teenage brain (source)! Fingers crossed!
Here is the fish oil my teenagers take. They take 1 teaspoon per day, and double or triple that during sickness.
#3 — Magnesium
Teenagers can be kinda whiny… especially when they’re growing! (Just kidding. My teens ONLY whine when they have growing pains… not.)
Magnesium is our go-to for alleviating uncomfortable leg cramps and growing pains. It relaxes muscles and helps keep your teen’s body from becoming deficient in magnesium — something most people are deficient in.
However, we’ve discovered that magnesium is good for more than just growing pains.
Remember how teenager hormones are changing all the time? How those surges of hormones can cause mood swings, attitudes, and more?
Well, something that’s happened for our older child is the onset of anxiety during puberty — especially during growth spurts. Our naturopath says this can be common if the child’s liver is sluggish and not efficiently metabolizing those excess hormones, which is a great possibility considering his mother’s history. 😉
Magnesium is also extremely helpful in treating anxiety! I’ve been relying on magnesium to help my anxiety for years, and it really works! (Read about the 5 Things That *Really* Helped My Anxiety here.)
So, when he starts eating and sleeping like he’s going through a growth spurt, we always keep an eye out for anxiety symptoms. In our son, anxiety looks like abnormal irritability, racing thoughts, difficulty sleeping, and difficulty communicating what he’s thinking/feeling. He also gets extremely bothered or frustrated by small things. We support this growth and onset of hormonal anxiety with magnesium.
This is the magnesium we use. My coupon code ALLTHETHINGS gets you 10% off! Used daily, 1 to 2 teaspoons is sufficient. My kids take magnesium just before bed to help with deep, relaxed sleep.
#4 — Methylated B Vitamins
B vitamins are kinda like the do-all-the-things fuel for our bodies. It’s pretty amazing how many of our bodies’ functions require B vitamins to work! For instance:
- B6 — required to break down hormones in the liver, low B6 contributes to acne, sugar cravings, and mood swings
- B12 — helpful for sustained energy and concentration, low B12 contributes to fatigue and mood swings (Learn more about B12 deficiency and supplementation here.)
- B vitamins in general — improve immunity, help build the nervous system, and contribute to overall health (source)
Because of a genetic mutation known as MTHFR (read more about it here and here), you need to be super careful what type of B vitamin supplement you give your child. It is estimated that over half of the population has some form of MTHFR, which affects the way certain nutrients, like B vitamins, are (or are not) metabolized by the liver.
Most multi-vitamins and B vitamin supplements on the market are NOT methylated — meaning they contain the synthetic form of the vitamin. This is problematic for those with MTHFR, who will become deficient in B vitamins (and many other nutrients over time) because their livers cannot metabolize it for the body.
Better safe than sorry; take a methylated B vitamin complex. This will provide a broad spectrum of all the B vitamins to nourish your teenager’s changing body, boost their immunity, assist in healthy nervous system development, and maybe even clear up their acne-prone skin!
Here is the Methylated B Complex we use. 1 capsule every other day for children under 18. Talk to your practitioner about monitoring B vitamin levels in the blood.
#5 — Grass-Fed Gelatin
Once again, we circle back to gut and skin health — 2 of the biggest health concerns for teenagers.
Grass-fed gelatin is, in my opinion, more food than supplement, but according to the FDA, it’s technically a supplement. I stir a scoop of it into my hot tea every morning, so that feels like food to me, but whatever. I digress.
Anyway, grass-fed gelatin is an awesome daily supplement to support your teenager’s healthy growth and hormone balance! How does this work?
You can read all about gelatin here, but here are the talking points:
- Gelatin, the heated form of collagen, is rich in anti-inflammatory properties which can calm the gut and skin.
- Glycine, an important amino acid that supports improved sleep, strengthens the intestinal lining, and calms the nervous system, is abundant in grass-fed gelatin (source).
- Gelatin is a pure source of protein that supports a healthy metabolism.
Even teenagers love their jello and homemade marshmallows, so why not make gelatin a part of your teen’s healthy lifestyle?
Finally, this list is by no means comprehensive. Your teenager’s nutritional needs are unique and should be monitored closely. There are many supplements that I could add to this list: whole foods Vitamin C, Vitamin K2, UNDAs, and adaptogens that are beneficial to teenagers as well.
I highly recommend working with a functional medical practitioner or naturopath to determine your child’s specific needs.
When y’all start a support group for Crunchy Moms Of Children (Previously Denied Pop Tarts) Who Happily Try Pop Tarts, let me know, mmmmkay? I’m your girl. Meanwhile, I do hope some of these supplements benefit your little hormonal bundles of joy…
I can’t promise better attitudes or increased motivation to do homework, but I know we can tell a difference in our kiddos when they’re not taking their stuff, ok? I mean, we’re parents of teenagers. We’ll try anything, right?
Hugs, fellow teen parents. I stand in solidarity with you. Screw you, Pop Tarts. 😉
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. You are responsible for your own health the health of your children. Please speak with a qualified healthcare provider for your individual health needs.
Do you use any of these supplements to support your teen’s health? Would you add any to this list?
Then, how are you supporting yourself, parents? Don’t forget about self-care!
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