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Post: The Supplement Industry Has Come For Kids

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The Supplement Industry Has Come For Kids

In recent years, a growing number of parents have turned to supplements to help their kids sleep, focus, and be healthy. But pediatricians are alarmed by how little we know about what our kids are taking.

by Miranda Rake

You’ve been on the neuropsych wait list for eight months. You’ve been searching for an in-network health care provider for a year. You have a feeling the babysitter is going to quit soon, and that’s going to be a whole thing. And all these worries are squeezed in among the unrelenting day-to-day stream of work, groceries, bedtimes, laundry, dinners, pickups, drop-offs, well-checks, head colds, and owies. There’s been a hiccup on your way to checking almost every box on the to-do list. Bedtime takes two hours instead of 20 minutes. Balanced meals are rejected in favor of toast. You hear from school after drop-off that your kid can’t focus. Maybe something is up, but you can’t get a diagnosis because everyone’s schedule is full, and you can’t afford it anyway.

An influencer you’ve been following — you just like her vibe, she seems to get it — holds up a colorful bottle in her latest video. She’s saying something about how much easier life is now that her kids eat this gummy. A few days later, you’re at the grocery store and you see the same cheery bottle on the rainbow wall of kids’ vitamins and supplements. Maybe it says “kids immune boost,” and you’re on the 17th cold of the school year already. Or perhaps it’s the universally enticing “calm kids,” which often features buzzy ingredients like L-theanine or ashwagandha. Or a star-spangled “kids sleep support,” laden with melatonin and passionflower. The price tag of $27.99 is kind of steep but honestly not so much in the grand scheme of things, and there’s no harm in a gummy, right? You can see the apples and granola bars your family lives on from where you stand. The bananas here are safe, the pasta here is safe — so surely these are safe too.

You may have already guessed what’s coming next: In […]

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