Vitamins are important. They can play a role for healthy skin, brain health, cell production and growth, healthy development, immune system support, bone health, increased physical energy, and much more.*
Different vitamins serve different purposes in the body.
For instance, vitamin E is an antioxidant that may help support the health of your brain, blood, vision, and skin (study). Vitamin B6 (study) and B12 (study) may be essential for the formation of red blood cells, as well as cell metabolism, nerve function, and more (find out more about the vitamin B family). Vitamin D3 (study) may strengthen bones and teeth, improves immunity and heart function, and provides many other benefits.*
Whether it's kids, adults or seniors, people of all ages should ensure that they get enough essential vitamins and nutrients in their diets. Vitamin supplements for ages 12 and up can be a good way to provide teenagers with nutritional support and ensure they’re supplementing their daily diet with some key nutrients.*
To supplement nutrients obtained through food, teen girls and boys may want to consider taking dietary supplements (such as multivitamin gummies or other options). There are many reasons why vitamins matter.
Which Vitamin for Teens Are Important?
Teenagers are growing and changing rapidly, and it’s important that they get the right building blocks and support, so this happens in a healthy way. This means it’s crucial for teens to get the vitamins and minerals their bodies need.
Teen girls and boys need to get an array of vitamins regularly to help support energy, immune health, healthy growth, brain health, and and overall body functions. A teen’s vitamin needs will vary, largely depending on their diet. Healthy foods are a crucial source of the required daily value of many vitamins, minerals and proper nutrients.
When serving meals, always ensure to provide healthy foods that contain a wide variety of essential nutrients and a large percentage of the daily value of necessary vitamins.
Supplements, such as multivitamin liquid, can help if a teen is not getting enough vitamins in their daily life through their diet.
There are many benefits to vitamin E. Vitamin E (study) is a nutrient that is found in many foods, including vegetable oils, nuts, and green leafy vegetables. It is an antioxidant which means that it helps to protect cells in the body from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin E is important for maintaining healthy skin (study) and eyes, and it plays a role in the immune system (study) and the formation of red blood cells.*
B vitamins may help support your teen’s metabolism and new cell production. For example, pantothenic acid (also known as vitamin B5), may help the body perform metabolic functions while vitamin B12 is important for red blood cell production.*
Vitamin B12 is usually found only in animal sources (study), so a vitamin B12 supplement may be a good option for teens who prefer to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Vitamin D is a nutrient that is essential for the proper growth and development of the human body. It helps the body absorb calcium, which is necessary for strong bones and teeth (study).* Vitamin D can be synthesized by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, but it can also be obtained from certain foods such as fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods such as milk and cereal. Most teenagers can get enough vitamin D through a combination of sunlight exposure and a healthy diet, but some teens may need to take supplements.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for many functions in the body, including vision, immune system function (study), and cell growth and tissue repair (study). It also helps with keeping skin healthy (study).* There are two main forms of vitamin A: retinol, which is found in animal-derived foods, and beta-carotene, which is found in plant-derived foods. Good sources of vitamin A include liver, milk, cheese, eggs, and orange and yellow fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for the proper function of the body's cells. It is an antioxidant, which means that it helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C is important for the synthesis of collagen, a protein that is necessary for the development of blood vessels, skin (study), and connective tissue. It is also important for the immune system (study), the healing of wounds and the maintenance of healthy gums.* Vitamin C can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, and spinach. Teens can get enough vitamin C from their diet, but some young people may need to take supplements.
Folic acid, or folate, is a B-vitamin that is important for the proper function of the body's cells, as well as the synthesis of DNA and the metabolism of proteins (study).* Folic acid can be found in a variety of foods, including leafy green vegetables, nuts, beans, and fortified grains. It is also available in supplement form.
Getting Enough Vitamins as a Teenager
Much like younger children, teenagers might be picky eaters or they may not be interested in food very much. In the average day teen thoughts may be on a million different topics, but there’s a good chance none of them will involve vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. However, explaining to teenagers why vitamins are important can help encourage them to take them.
For instance, if a teen learns that a diet rich in vitamin A is beneficial for healthy skin, healthy hair, or is a key for good vision (study)*, they might be more interested in getting enough of this vitamin. Showing them the real world benefits can encourage your teen to care about vitamins and minerals. Immune system support is also important and a way to show why vitamins matter, since no one wants to get sick.
For optimal growth, immune support, brain health, mood support, and much more, a vitamin supplement for teens may be a good idea.
The best teen’s multivitamins are the ones that provide enough of the required daily vitamins in their most bioavailable form. Many teenagers can choose to take multivitamin liquid, multivitamin gummies, or vitamins in capsules form.
Why Give Dietary Supplements to Teenagers?
Nutritional supplements can be a good idea for many reasons. Vitamins are important and deficiencies can cause a range of symptoms such as fatigue, anemia, irritability, and more (study).*
Since getting enough vital nutrients and essential vitamins is important for child’s growth, supplementing your teen’s diet with daily vitamins may be a good idea. However, choosing the right ones is important. This is why it’s critical to choose high quality sources of vitamins and essential vitamins from reputable sellers. A good place to start may be with one of the many good teen multivitamin options out there.
Gummy vitamins are available in many different types. Sometimes, these are preferred by teenagers as they are easier to take. For instance, multivitamin gummies are a good choice for teenage boys and girls who may not like the idea of swallowing pills. Chewable teenage vitamins are also an option. These choices aren’t just for younger children. They are also a good option for a multivitamin for teens. Try to avoid those that contain added sugar and other sweeteners as well as ones that are filled with artificial flavors or colors.
Not only may you want to consider teen’s vitamins and dietary supplements to help with bone health, cell growth, immune health, to encourage optimal growth, and to support overall wellness, but dietary supplements are also often helpful for teens who eat specific diets.
For instance, some teenagers may need supplements to receive enough vitamin B12. This vitamin helps make your DNA, build red blood cells, and much more (study).* Your body doesn’t create it, so you’ll need to get it from food or supplements. Potentially complicating this issue is that vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal foods. This means that those who are vegetarian, who follow a vegan diet, or anyone who does not eat much eggs, fish, meat, poultry, or dairy could be lacking this crucial vitamin. Out of all the possible vitamin deficiencies, B12 deficiency is one of the more common.
In these cases, a vitamin B12 supplement could be a good idea. B12 is often found in multivitamins, including many brands of multivitamin gummies. These vitamins often also contain vitamin D3, vitamin E, B vitamins (including vitamin B6, pantothenic acid or vitamin B5), and many other vitamins and minerals that are crucial for brain health, growth, and overall health and wellness for teen girls and boys.
Which Vitamins Support the Needs of an Athletic Teenager?
Teen boys and girls who are involved in sports often expel more energy than those who are not. They may also want to put a special focus on health and nutrition so that they perform their best. Some vitamins that can help improve a teen’s health and sports performance include:
There are many B vitamins (such as vitamin B6 or vitamin B12 cobalamin) and all are important helping ensure the body's cells are functioning properly. They convert food into energy (this is known as metabolism), which is crucial for teenage athletes (study). They may also help create and grow red blood cells, improve energy levels and brain function (study).* Obviously, all these functions are critical for athletes.
Vitamin D and Calcium
Calcium and vitamin D are crucial for healthy teeth, bones, and muscles. Some research has suggested that vitamin D may have potential benefits for athletes, such as improving muscle strength and function, maintaining muscles mass, and helping to prevent the risk of injuries (study)*. However, more research is needed to confirm and determine the optimal dosage for teenage athletes.
While some nutrient and vitamin deficiencies are relatively rare, iron deficiencies are quite common in teen athletes, and having one may hurt their performance (study).* Those who follow vegan diets are more prone to this deficiency, as plant-based iron is less available to the body.
Vitamin E help keep your immune system healthy. If high-school athletes are deficient in this vitamin, they may feel unwell and even have difficulties with walking and coordination (study).* Obviously, this can be very detrimental for sports.
While not a vitamin, fatty acids are crucial for many body functions, including energy storage. Omega-3 fatty acids in particular may help your body battle inflammation which can occur during exercise (study).*
Only some supplements are proven to help and provide benefits to teen athletes. If you are considering supplements, it’s important to choose those that only contain healthy ingredients and to buy from reputable brands and sellers.
What Vitamins to Give a Teenager in Case of Fatigue?
If your teen is lacking physical energy, feeling tired, or suffering from fatigue, vitamin deficiencies might be to blame.
The rapid growth that teenagers experience may leave them feeling tired. There’s also the fact that average teen’s diet and lifestyle isn’t always the healthiest. Therefore, vitamins and supplements could be helpful.
Your teen’s body needs vitamin B12 to help support red blood cell functions and oxygen delivery. If a teen is not getting enough, this might impact the proper function of the cells and may result in lack of energy or tiredness (study).*
An iron deficiency can affect your body’s ability to produce hemoglobin, which carries oxygen through your body. This can leave teenage boys and girls feeling tired and out of breath (study).*
This vitamin helps protect cells from oxidative damage. If young people are not getting enough, they might feel tired and experience more muscle fatigue during exercise (study).*
Some people who have low levels of vitamin D may experience fatigue and other symptoms, such as muscle weakness, aches and pains, and low mood (study).* However, it is not clear whether vitamin D deficiency is the cause of these symptoms, or whether taking vitamin D supplements will help to improve them. If your kid is experiencing fatigue, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider to determine the cause and to discuss the appropriate treatment. Vitamin D deficiency can be diagnosed with a blood test, and it can be treated with supplements if necessary.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that is important for the proper functioning of the body's cells. They are found in high amounts in fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, and they can also be obtained from plant sources such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Omega-3 fatty acids have a number of potential health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving cardiovascular health (study). Some research has suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may also have a role in the treatment of fatigue and other symptoms such as anxiety (study). Studies suggest that Omega 3s may help alleviate stress, leaving your child feeling healthier and more energetic.*
What Vitamins Should I Give my Teenager to Prevent Colds and Viral Infections?
Immune health is important. No one wants to get sick. Vitamins, nutrients, and minerals are necessary for immune system support and overall health. Getting enough vitamins can help your body fight off colds and viral infections, allowing your teenage to stay healthy and recover more easily.
Here are some vitamins that can help fight off colds and illnesses.
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that plays an important role in many of the body's functions, including the production of red blood cells, the proper functioning of the nervous system, and the metabolism of fats and proteins. There is some evidence to suggest that vitamin B12 may also have immune-boosting effects. For example, research has shown that vitamin B12 deficiency may be associated with an increased risk of infections. Additionally, vitamin B12 supplements have been shown to improve immune function in people with vitamin B12 deficiency (study).*
In general, a healthy immune system is important for protecting the body against infections and other diseases. While vitamin B12 may play a role in maintaining a healthy immune system, it is not the only factor that is important for immune health. A well-rounded diet, regular exercise, and good sleep are also important for maintaining a strong immune system.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that plays a role in maintaining the immune system. It helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to the development of various diseases, including immune-related conditions.
Some research suggests that vitamin E may help to boost the immune system and protect against certain infections (study). For example, studies have shown that vitamin E supplements may reduce the incidence and severity of upper respiratory tract (study).*
Vitamin C is perhaps the most well-known vitamin for immune health. It may help prevent damage to cells, stimulates white blood cell activity, and much more (study).*
To ensure that your teenager is getting the vitamins and nutrients they need to support their immune system, you may want to look at a multivitamin for teens. Multivitamin drink formulas can be a good choice, since they are easy to carry and contain many of the vitamins teenage boys and teenage girls need daily. This will cover a lot of the vitamins needed prevent colds and other illnesses.
Which Vitamins Help Bone Health in Teens?
Bone health is important for both teen boys and girls. Healthy bones are crucial to prevent injury and much more. As teens are growing, their bodies are making new bone faster than old bone is breaking down. This means an increase in bone mass. For most people, peak bone mass happens around age 30. Therefore, it’s important to take care of your bones during childhood and adolescence, so that they grow strong and healthy and build a good foundation for your entire life.
Calcium is an essential mineral that is important for the health of bones and teeth. The body needs calcium to maintain strong bones, as well as to support other functions such as muscle function (study).*
The body needs calcium to help maintain strong bones, and it is especially important for children and young adults to get enough calcium to help support the development of healthy bones (study).*
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that is essential for the proper absorption of calcium and the maintenance of strong bones. It is also important for immune system health, muscle function, and other functions in the body (study).*
Adequate vitamin D intake is especially important for teens, as their bones are still developing and growing (study). During the teenage years, the body is building up its bone mass, and getting enough vitamin D can help to ensure that the bones are strong and healthy (study).*
There are several ways that teens can get enough vitamin D:
- Spend time in the sun: The body can produce vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. However, it is important to use sunscreen to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun.
- Eat foods that are rich in vitamin D: Some foods, such as fatty fish, beef liver, and egg yolks, are naturally rich in vitamin D.
- Take a supplement: Vitamin D supplements are available in a variety of forms, including tablets, gummies, capsules, and liquids.
It is important for teens to get enough vitamin D to support the development of strong bones and overall health.
During the teenage years, the body is building up its bone mass, and getting enough nutrients is important for the development of strong bones. Vitamin E may play a role in maintaining bone health, which may help reduce the risk of fractures and other bone issues (study).*
Vitamin supplements can be taken if you are concerned that a teen may not be getting enough vitamins in their diet.
The Importance of Vitamin C for Teenagers
Vitamin C is important for many reasons. Vitamin C is an important nutrient that is essential for good health. It is a water-soluble vitamin, which means the body does not store it. Vitamin C is necessary for the proper function of the immune system, as well as for the synthesis of collagen, a protein that is important for the health of skin, nails, hair, blood vessels, muscles, and bones.*
Adolescents need vitamin C to support their growing bodies and developing immune systems. Adequate vitamin C intake is important for maintaining good health and help reduce risks of getting a cold (study).*
Do Teens Need Folic Acid?
Folic acid (or folate) is beneficial for many reasons. Folic acid and folate are different forms of vitamin B9. Folate occurs naturally in food while folic acid is found in supplements and is often added to food.
One of its primary roles is to help the body maintain old cells and create new ones. It also help the body produce blood cells, prevents anemia, promotes tissue growth, and much more (study).*
In particular, teen girls who are menstruating have special folate needs as their bodies are changing. When someone gets pregnant, folate is critical to reduce the chances of neural tube defects in the baby. This is why teenage girls, even those who are not planning to get pregnant, should ensure they get enough folic acid.
Where to Find these Vitamins in Foods?
Teen girls and boys should aim to get many of the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients through eating a balanced diet. If you eat a variety of whole, healthy foods, you should be able to get many of the vitamins you need.
Encourage your teen to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole foods that are minimally processed, and to make sure they get enough high-quality protein.
Also stress the importance of avoiding added or artificial sugars as much as possible. These fill you up, leaving less room for healthy food. Teenage girls and boys are still developing their food habits, so making healthy choices at this age can set them up for life.
If your teenager is eating a broad and healthy diet on a daily basis, they’re a good chance that they’re getting all or most of the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals they need.
However, taking a teen multivitamin could be a good idea if a teenager does not show interest or dedication to eating a healthy diet. Vitamins and nutritional supplements can be helpful in these situations.
Much like younger children, teenagers may not want to listen or follow your advice. This means your teen’s diet could be inconsistent and sometimes lacking certain essential nutrients.
One day, they might want to eat everything, and the next they might want nothing at all. Vitamin and mineral supplements will help provide nutritional support on days when they may not eat enough good, nutritious food.
What to Do if your Teenager Isn’t Getting Enough Vitamins & Nutrients
Healthy food should be the priority, but if you’re worried that your teens are not getting their daily value or essential nutrients and vitamins, some of the best multivitamins to take for nutritional support are multivitamins formulated for teens.
If you provide healthy foods to your teens and they’re not eating them, a gummy vitamin might be a good idea. This will help them get the required daily value of many vitamins and nutrients, including several trace minerals.
Consider looking for vitamins that contain natural flavors rather than artificial flavors. You may want to choose vitamins and contain more natural ingredients and fewer artificial sweeteners.
There are even vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free options and those that do not contain GMO or vegetable magnesium stearate.
You can get the most out of vitamins and minerals by taking them in their most bioavailable form.
Water-soluble vitamins are the B vitamins as well as vitamin C. These are ones that the body does not absorb. This means you’ll want to try and get enough of them every day. Fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K) are stored in the liver and fat tissues. This means they can be stored in your body for several months. However, it’s still important to get enough of them.
Different vitamins and minerals are absorbed by the body in different ways. A few tips for getting the most from supplements are taking calcium along with vitamin D (which helps absorption), taking iron about an hour before a meal, combining magnesium with carbohydrates, taking zinc along with protein, and taking vitamin B12 supplements in the morning.
However, in many cases, the best process and the best multivitamin for teens are the ones that they will willingly take. Teaching your teen about the importance of getting enough vitamins and the real-world consequences if they don’t, can help encourage them.
As always, talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. Get professional advice if you think your teenager might need a vitamin supplement or is already taking one to ensure they are not exceeding the amounts they may need.