Ask the Expert: Featuring Andrea Memon, RD, CD, LD
Andrea Memon is a registered dietitian, a wife, a mother of three boys, and a lover of food, cooking, fitness, wellness and nature! She grew up in Idaho - not that many people can say that, and currently lives in a Chicago suburb. You can follow her work at her blog (www.nutritionchopped.com). On social media, Andrea can be followed on instagram: @nutritionchopped and on Facebook: facebook.com/andrea.nutritionchopped
Ever feel like you need a degree in dietetics to decode nutrition labels and determine what choices are healthy for your kiddos? Same here, but never fear, we’ve done the next best thing in bringing in Chicago area Dietitian, Andrea Memon, to help clarify some of the chaos, and add color to our ongoing conversation on Vitamin C.
There’s so much to cover, let’s jump right in:
Vitaminis (VM): We’re so happy to connect with you Andrea and answer some great questions on the most important dietary nutrients for children’s immune support.
Andrea Memon (AM): Glad to join you in uncovering how these vitamins and minerals work together to keep our kids healthy.
VM: We developed Vitaminis as a better beverage option to give kids something tasty while supporting their systems, a win-win, or what we like to call a #miniwin for parents. How do you see vitamins playing a role in maintaining children’s health?
AM: When it comes to immunity, Vitamin C, Magnesium and Zinc are all essential nutrients and critical in supporting the body’s immune function. Delivering these nutrients in a 2.5 ounce drink means that Vitaminis fits within the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation to limit juice intake to 4 to 6 ounces per day for children 4 through 6 years old.
VM: Right, we wanted to make sure that we delivered an appropriate amount of each element, and also that it was deliciously drinkable, with no waste to ensure parents know how much of each vitamin kids are getting.
AM: That’s good to keep in mind, making sure however you use it - whether in a smoothie, or on its own - you limit intake to one per day. This is important, so intake from magnesium in the form of a supplement does not exceed the recommendation.
VM: Based on the evidence, who might benefit from drinking Vitaminis?
AM: It has a wide audience, and is an option to fill in nutritional gaps for kids who are exposed to secondhand smoke, picky eaters, vegans, vegetarians, kids who struggle with occasional constipation, kids who have wounds that are healing and kids who get sick with the common cold frequently. Dietitians usually recommend nutrient intake come from whole foods, but when there are nutrient gaps, supplements can help.
VM: We couldn't agree more that whole foods are optimal. We are always thinking of ways we can sneak in more fruits and veggies. Can you talk a bit more on what each nutrient does for kids in the groups you mentioned?
AM: For starters, smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke have increased Vitamin C needs as the body needs to repair damage caused by free radicals. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C is essential for many body functions, including the immune system and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.
VM: Is that because Vitamin C improves iron absorption? Also, what are your thoughts on its effectiveness against the common cold?
AM: Yes, exactly, Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron in plant-based foods and iron fortified foods, such as iron fortified cereal. It also aids the formation of collagen and helps in wound healing. Regarding colds, though prevention is unfortunately difficult, regular Vitamin C supplementation has been shown to reduce the symptoms of a cold, making it less severe, and to reduce the duration of the cold by 14% in children, on average.
VM: Even if colds are just a cold hard fact, reducing their duration sure seems like a win.
AM: Definitely. The other nutrients in Vitaminis support Vitamin C, with Zinc also aiding in wound healing and immunity, and Magnesium, in the form of citrate, which can actually be used as a laxative to treat occasional constipation. This is why it is important to limit Vitaminis to one per day. Intake of Magnesium Citrate beyond what is provided in one bottle can cause diarrhea, dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities.
VM: Correct, only one Vitaminis per day is best to avoid getting too much of a good thing. We’ve heard from both other expert guests, as well as many parents who certainly see constipation as an issue for their kiddos.
AM: For sure, it’s very common. And whether your children are actually following a vegetarian/vegan diet or simply avoid eating meat even when it's served, this can put them at risk for nutrient deficiencies such as Iron and Zinc.
VM: That makes sense, and we learned a lot about the effects of Zinc deficiency from our guest Dr. Preethi.
AM: Yes, it’s definitely important to consume an adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals, and add nutritional supplements when intake from dietary sources are lacking or when nutrient needs are increased.
VM: Striving for balance with a better beverage option, that’s our goal at Vitaminis. Thanks again so much for adding your knowledge to our community Andrea, we truly appreciate it.
AM: And I appreciate the opportunity to contribute, anytime!