Pile of vitamin pills According to a new study, youngsters taking daily vitamins and supplements in the U.S. perhaps don’t really need them. In contrast, it was noted that, the children who probably needed these vitamins and supplements weren’t getting them. This study was conducted by University of California Davis.

The data of more than 10,000 children aging from 2 to 17, who had participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, were evaluated. These children were categorized in vitamin and mineral supplement users and non-users on the basis of their pill consumption within a month of being a part of this survey. Various other factors like their amount of physical activity, the types of food they consumed etc. were also taken into consideration.

Lead study author, Ulfat Shaikh, assistant professor of pediatrics, UC Davis School of Medicine, says that, “Many of the children and adolescents who are using daily vitamin supplements may not need to take them, because they are receiving adequate nutrition from the foods they eat. Our study also indicates that children and adolescents who may face the greatest risks of vitamin and mineral deficiency are the least likely to be taking supplements.”

The study authors say that their aim for conducting this study was to determine whether the parents were resorting to these vitamins and mineral supplements intake by their children to prevent an onset of any diet related medical problems.

Sheikh says that, “As expected, we found that a large number of underweight children had taken a multivitamin in the previous month. But we also found that between 30 and 40 percent of children who regularly eat vegetables and drink milk are taking supplements. Supplements for children and adolescents who are healthy and eat a varied diet are not only medically unnecessary but they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).” They say that an over-dose of these pills may have drastic effects like vomiting or even damage to kidneys.

The study investigators hope to better understand this criterion by conducting direct interviews with parents in order to verify the reason that they give these vitamins to their children even in the absence of any health complications.

Their findings are published in one of JAMA/Archives journals, the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.