Vitamins and My Nine Year Old Son

Updated on September 16, 2009
K.L. asks from Stockton, CA
25 answers

Okay Moms. I need some help from those of you who know about vitamins or give your children vitamins. I started worrying about my son when he came home from his dad's house with a stomache ache (we have shared 50/50 custody, one week at a time). When I saw him on friday at the school, as I have another child who attends the same school, he told me his stomache hurts all the time at his dad's house. He said he didn't know and I asked him what he was eating or taking for any meds, as I know his dad gives him different things. He told me his dad was having him take spongebob vitamins (centrum for kids multivitamin), vitamin C, a gummy bear vitamin, mucinex, and sudafed. He takes all the medications with his breakfast each morning. I am so worried for him. What I have read is that too much vitamins can cause health related problems and in the long run have a negative effect. I have an okay relationship with his dad, but very volatile when it comes to talking to him about the best interest of my son. He has only just been involved with the 50/50 custody for less than a year, I know he feels bad about his earlier lack of involvement, and may be the reason that he is so defensive during these conversations. I guess my question is how much is too much? What can happen? What should I do other than talking to his dad which I plan to do already? Should I talk with his doctor? Please understand that I am not in a bad relationship with my ex, and am only concerned about the damages of what all these meds can do to him at one time. I am not upset with his dad in any way, I know he has our son's best interest at heart, he just is still learning about what is best, and does not research the pros and cons of things when it comes to our boy's health. I do not feel he is in danger, but I don't want him to suffer pain at the hands of us not knowing better. All, I want is for the best. I don't want to make a big deal about this, but think I have legitimate concerns for my son.

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S.A.

answers from Chico on

Hi K.,
I have raised 5 kids and there is only one vitamin company that I trust. I know too well what is in most of them. You are right to be concerned because what your ex is giving your son is full of synthetic vitamins, artificial flavors and colors and I often hear of stomach pains from those and others. He is so young to be taking mucinex and sudafed especially when there are healthier alternatives.

My grandchildren are being raised on these nutritional supplements as well, and I certainly wouldn't suggest anything for them that could be harmful.

Our company actually has the proof of the benefits that we have as compared with other companies.

I have been a representative of this company for 39 years. I am not trying to push anything. That is why I am not mentioning the name. I don't want this to be commercial...just helpful. If you want more information I will be happy to share with you with absolutely no obligation whatsoever. You can also email me at [email protected]____.com care,
Sandy

C.P.

answers from Sacramento on

It does sound like a lot of vitamins but from my understanding what your body doesn't use/need it just flushes out. As for the mucinex and sudafed I am wondering why he has to take those items every day. Does your child have allergies? I would also try to find out if any stressful things are happening at his father's house. There could be something else happening that is causing the stomach pain. If you are too worried about the vitamin's I would ask your doctor for advise and help in this matter. Maybe the doctor could send the father some info on the vitamins and other meds. It is sometimes easier to hear from an outside source. Good luck!

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G.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi K.,

While I am an advocate of vitamin replacement for people, There is a limit to how much one should take.

To much of a "good thing" can turn out to be a bad thing.
He should not be taking that many vitamins.

Upset stomach can be from vitamins, for sure. But, it is also listed as the first side effect in both Mucinex and Sudafed.

Mucinex is more worrysome than sudafed, although sudafed has it's problems. Sudafed is actually being phased out because people can make street speed out of it.
Mucinex is not recommended for kids under 12, although some doctors do prescribe it and it is legal- it's probably not the best thing for the child.It has serious side effects and is a short term medicine.
The interesting thing is that both of these medications have the SAME list of side effects.
Stomach upset
trouble sleeping
headache
fast heartbeat
loss of appetite
shaking hands
sweating
*nervousness
*dizzyness
*restlessness
*nausea/vomiting
with the last four being signs of overdose for sudafed.

Also a full glass, 8 ounces, of water must be taken with mucinex as it works by pulling water from other areas of the body and into the lungs to thin mucous. Now keep in mind that the the stomach needs copious amounts of water to digest it's food. If he is eating a meal (the body sends blood and water into the stomach to help didgestion)and then taking mucinex, (the body pulls the water out to send to the lungs)...poor stomach, is trying to digest it's food dry. Also this medicine seems to affect the central nervous system, and possibly serotonin, which 70% of it is located in the gut.
He should probably try to let the full stomach digest for an hour before taking the mucinex/sudafed, if he must take it at all. Make sure he drinks MORE water with it. Take one multi vitamin (with the meal.) See if that helps.

If these meds are taken for asthma or sinus infections, stopping milk products will help the asthma and Xyclear nasal spray will help the sinuses.

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S.K.

answers from San Francisco on

Talk to your pediatrician. That way, your ex will be more likely to listen from a "professional." Plus, your son could be unhappy there, the stomachache could be a symptom of emotions.

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B.R.

answers from Sacramento on

When it comes to vitamins and medications, I think you and your son's father need to work together on what and when to give to him. These are not things to mess around with. Some parents seem to treat vitamins much like they are just little candy pills. If he's taking a certain type of vitamin at a certain dosage at one house, then not taking them at the other, that can mess up his system. I agree with the person who suggests you get your son's pediatrician involved in this. Let the Dr. be the one who decides what your son needs and both of you follow those guidelines.

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M.S.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi K. ~

Your son can simply have a stomach ache from ingesting the vitamins without food. If he is indeed taking other medications, then that too could affect his tummy.
As far as your ex goes, take the high road and approach it from he is trying to do good. So, you might say something like this - Billy told me you have been giving him vitamins and I think that is great you want him to be healthy. Would you be open to looking at some things that we can both do at each of our homes so Billy gets the consistency from house to house?

If he thinks you are attacking his parenting, he will shut down, but if you approach it from the greater good standpoint, it will probably be fine.
As far as vitamins go, your best bet would be to take a liquid supplement that is a whole food with no synthetics. All of those mass manufactured vitamins are synthetic and won't really do anything for him in the long run. People only absorb about 10-20% of pill vitamins, so toxicity is not really a concern. So, clearly you don't get at the cellular level what is on the bottle.
It is really a placebo because you just don't get that much.

Good luck. If you are interested in hearing about some liquid supplements that are whole foods, email me back.

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L.D.

answers from Modesto on

Mucinex and Sudafed are for when you are sick and need symptom relief - they are NOT everyday vitamins or medication. Does he think they are vitamins? They are both stimulants and do similar things and should not be taken together. They can also provide stomach upset especially when used together. They are not even used together when you are sick! ONE childrens multivitamin per day is sufficient and usually does not cause any stomach upset. But two vitamins as well as vitamin C will cause stomach upset. Just extra vitamin C with one vitamin can do it for some people. My mother in law used to give my husband extra vitamin C powder in his orange juice ( already high in vit C)each day. He always threw up on the way to high school each day or after first period each day and then felt better. He was diagnosed later in life with acid reflux and extra acid production. Vitamin c was the worst thing for him! He didn't know until later in life that all the extra vitamin C was causing him to vomit regularly and sped up the erosion of his teeth (which have ALL been crowned or capped now due to this). His mother was very into "healthy" stuff in the 70's-80's (wheat germ, cod liver oil etc)and she only had his best interests at heart. Please talk to your doctor to get information about what kid of vitamin regimen is sufficient for your son and then talk with your ex, armed with this info. Also, to play devils advocate, I have heard of people trying to "energize" their kids with cold medicines and stuff (they can get them legally)because the side effects can be energy and/or sleeplessness since they are stimulants. Please be sure this is not the case. Do a trial for two weeks without all these supplements and see if your sons stomach ache clears up. Then add just one multi vitamin to his daily routine and see how he does. Good luck!

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A.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Is your son sick? Why is your son's father giving him mucinex and sudafed every day? I would never suggest sudafed even for adults unless it was an emergency. The vitamins look fine - I would ask him why he is giving your son those medications - those can and do cause all sorts of problems - one of which is stomachache - you son simply does not need that in his body.
Good luck!

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P.W.

answers from San Francisco on

You should just ask your ex what he's taking. Is the gummy bear vitamin another multi? He shouldn't be taking 2 multi's a day, but I assume the gummy bear vitamin is some other water-soluble vitamin -- a B-complex or something.

However, why does he have to take sudafed and mucinex every day? That would personally concern me more than the vitamins.

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M.L.

answers from Redding on

Three different vitamins seems a little excessive. I know that too much vit C can cause diarhea. Each of those ought to have a daily supply so he should be fine with either the gummy vits or sponge bob vits.
also I know that when I take Centrum without eating it upsets my stomach so it may also do with what he is eating for breakfast.
I would definately consult with your son's dr. Even if your son has allergies, one of the meds should be enough. As an adult I only use one or the other at a time.

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S.C.

answers from Sacramento on

Dear K. the vitamins may not be the problem it may be the mucinex and sudafed. they can make people feel sick. some times how ever the dyes in some children vitamins can make children feel bad. sometimes it maybe just what he is eating . I do know of a very good children's vitamin that has no artificial coloring and he would get a better result from them than the combination your ex is giving him. Also and adult vitamin for you since you are trying to get pregnant.maybe if he had the same vitmins at your house it would be better for him. if interested please let me know . good luck S. stork1973 at hotmail.com.

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S.B.

answers from Redding on

Dear K.,
It sounds to me like you son gets stomach aches from taking so many things at one time. I'm an adult and I often have to take only 1/2 a dose of my medications at a time, once in the morning and again at night, otherwise I am literally sick to my stomach. That even includes vitamins. Your son probably doesn't need both vitamins although I don't think it will really harm him, but I'm wondering why he would be giving him sudafed AND mucinex every day. I can't take sudafed because it makes me highly agitated and I've never tried mucinex, but I'm pretty certain they're to be used for temporary relief of symptoms. Most medications like that say not to take them longer than a certain period of time without consulting a physician. My son was given a medication usually prescribed for adults because he was having severe acid reflux and vomitting, but with his height and weight, he was the size of a small adult and he did just fine.
I would ask the pediatrician about how much vitamins a boy your son's age and size should require and ask about the safe dosages and duration of giving medications like sudafed and mucinex. If your son has upper respiratory issues, he may know of something better for your son to take or advise that he not be taking them at all.
My son goes with his dad every other weekend and two nights a week. My son had a cold and the poor kid was barely able to stay awake in class. I found out his dad had been giving him benadryl before school for his stuffy nose. His dad tends to get defensive sometimes too, but when I told him benadryl was what we gave our daughter that knocked her out when she had hives so bad, he realized immediately that wasn't the right thing to give him. Instead of telling him what to get, I told him to go to the pharmacy and ask the pharmacist what was good for relief of a stuffy nose for a kid who needed to be alert at school and the pharmacist helped him out. I didn't make a big deal about it, I didn't want to make him feel bad about it. He thought he was doing something to help him feel better and didn't realize....
Sometimes that happens.
Stomach aches can also be a symptom of stress, but I would start with the medicines he's taking in the morning. He may not be getting enough food and fluid to help digest them. That would be my first guess.
Talk to the pediatrician first and then tread lightly in your approach. You can ask him, "Has he been sick? He says he takes sudafed and mucinex every morning. He's getting lots of tummy aches. Maybe we should take him to the doctor together. Maybe he needs an antibiotic". I'm not one for pushing anitibiotics, but if you go to the doctor, they will ask what meds he takes and that will open the discussion as to whether or not it's appropriate and what else if anything can or should be given. That way, it's coming from the doctor and not you. Unless he's stuffed up every day and his chest is rattling, he shouldn't need those meds. And if he is, he could have a sinus infection or bronchitis in which case he needs to be seen by the doctor anyway.

I wish you the very best and hope it works out all right. I know co-parenting is tough but over the years, I've learned how and when to approach things so that they go more smoothly. It takes time. Please let us know how it goes, okay?

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A.

answers from Tallahassee on

Wow, that's a lot of pills for a kid to be taking...I wouldn't be surprised he has a stomach ache! Many medications, not to mention vitamins, can be hard on the stomach especially if taken all at one time. I'm not sure why the need for 3 types of vitamins. The spongebob multi probably already has enough vitamin C to not need a separate vitamin C (unless he's got a cold or something). The gummi vitamin is what? Another multi or a specific vitamin? And why the need for mucinex and sudafed? What is your ex's reason? Do you give him these meds too? If not, it seems weird.

My 70 yo father-in-law takes this many pills at one time and has stomach issues as a result. I would think if your son is relatively healthy and eats well, 1 vitamin supplement per day would suffice. Again, can't answer the reasons for mucinex and sudafed, but probably if you look at the side effects, stomach issues could be one of them (of many).

I would ask your ex why. I would discuss with your doctor. And I agree, it could also be stress, but definitely too many pills at one time.

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L.M.

answers from Sacramento on

Vitamins can be very hard on the stomach and digestive system for children and adults alike There is a fablous product called Jucie Plus. It is fruits and vegetables in a chewable or capsule and gummies for little ones. You can start with a half doses to start to avoid stomach upset . This is whole food so it feeds the body and the immune system.There is a childrens health study going now that gives children free juice plus for three years when they are sponsered by an adult who orderes juice plus. So you and your husband could sign up for juice plus and two of your kids could get it for free and if they have an aunt or grand parent who signs up they can also sponser one of your kis for the childrens healty study as well so the whole family would be covered . My son has been on Jucie Plus for free for 21/2years. It has made an amazing difference in his overall healty and immune system. I am a distrubitor for Juice Plus and would love to send you more info on the product. Give me a call or send an email L. 550-19800r reply to email [email protected]____.com

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M.E.

answers from San Francisco on

You asked for people who give their kids vitamins to respond but I felt compelled to respond anyway. Our pediatrician has NEVER recommended a multi-vitamin. Some people are "in to vitamins" but from a medical perspective I believe most doctors do not believe they are necessary, unless your child has a severe vitamin deficiency. From my experience, men are sort of dumb when it comes to these sort of things. At least my husband is. The amount of medicine your ex gives your son is overkill. I would make an appt with your doc regarding the stomach aches and insist that your ex come along.

L.V.

answers from San Francisco on

K. - you have valid concerns. It is probably not the quantity of vitamins/minerals making your son sick to the stomach, but rather the quality of the vitamins. As a nutritionist who works with many children, and as someone who ran a supplement department at a health store for 2 years, I know that the quality of multivitamins can vary greatly. Perhaps you can suggest to your ex to try a different (better quality!) multivitamin and see if that remedies the stomach aches.

L. Vachani
Holistic Nutrition Consultant
hfwellness.com

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A.C.

answers from Sacramento on

K., I agree that I would be more concerned about the medicines and not the vitamins. I also agree that your son should only need 1 multi-vitamin. I would ask you ex what he is giving your son and why, then talk to the doctor about it to see what he/she says.

Michele L, Both of my sons' pediatricians prescribed vitamin drops when they were babies and chewable or gummy vitamins when they were old enough. Picky eaters need them to get the vitamins they don't get from food.

Gail, You said that Mucinex was not recommended for children under 12. What about the Children's Mucinex or the Mini-Melts?

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G.R.

answers from Sacramento on

Like every one else, I've got to ask about the sudafed and mucinex. That seems odd since one drug dries up mucus and the other produces it. Sure, that could give you a stomach ache.

But I think the question of stress has to be addressed. Even if you and your ex are model divorced parents (and who really does everything right divorced or otherwise, :-) ), living in two different homes could be stressful for your son. All the little differences add up and could be making him sick to his stomach.

It makes sense that you and your ex need to talk and be on the same page--that doesn't mean that he is wrong, but just that you need to do some things the same way at both houses. It sounds like you have pretty different ideas about parenting. Getting your son into some short term counselling (a few sessions with an uninvolved adult could prevent later problems).

The vitamins sound ok as long as he is taking them with food. He may be taking more than one to get extra vitamin D. The daily recommended dose has been doubled in the last year, but many bottles on the shelf still have the old amount. There are also gummies with omega-3.

A word of caution when talking to your ex, your 9 yr old could be confused about what he is taking and might have been reporting all the different things taken over time and saying that he takes them every day. It definitely makes sense to ask your ex, not tell him that he is doing something wrong.

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N.S.

answers from San Francisco on

taking all those meds for no reason will have a counter effect when your son really needs them. Usually kids don't need vitamins if they are eating healthy, but if you do decide to give vitamins one is enough but no more than two a day. one in the A.M. the other in the P.M. Also, i've had vitamins myself give me a stomach ache. I then switched and it was fine. Honestly, your son is taking way too much on a daily basis and I would be very concerned. Isn't mucinex a prescription? Does your son have allergies? Too much meds can cause bacteria in the stomach and can cause serious problems. you should look into why he takes so much and let your dr. know about the stomach aches and what he is taking.

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M.B.

answers from San Francisco on

I would tell him do not give him anything unless he clears it with you. Tell him that you may have already given him something and when you send him give him a one a day gummy only in a plastic baggy for the length of his stay. My ex gave my son some type of Colon cleaner and I freaked out because I told him that he is too young for this and there are different ingredients in Children's medicines vs. Adult medicines etc. and that I prefer to use natural medicines etc. I just told him not to give him anything unless he checks with me. Even the Gummi one a day you are not supposed to take more than two in one day. I am in the same situation. Not in a bad relationship with ex but he is very defensive when it comes to what medications, foods etc he should give his son and maybe for the same reasons that you stated above. I still feel that I have to protect him so I just sent a quick note and tried to word it in a "non-threatening" manner. Not sure if it came across that way-smile.
Good Luck!!!

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E.M.

answers from Bakersfield on

OMG, please talk to your doctor and your lawyer! All of those at once can make a child very sick. Too much of a vitamin alone can poison him! When i was little , my friend Eric and I got into the vitamins and he had to have his stomach pumped in the ER. That is too much for most adults, let alone a child. Try asking him to do ONE vitamin a day. If he refuses, get the doctor and lawyer involved. What would happen if your son refused to take all of that? Would he be at risk for getting harmed? If not, tell him that he can only take ONE vitamin and nothing else unless he is sick, and then, only on doctors orders. My gosh, please do this fast. I am worried about your sons health. Vitamins and supplements and medicine are like everything else- good in small amounts, in moderation. It's like taking echinacea. It's a blood purifier that helps your body by cleaning the blood so it can better fight an infection. BUT too much can poison your body. 2 weeks of the reccommended dose is the max to take. It's the same with carrots- if you eat an entire bunch, you can get too much vitamin A. Etc. AND, everytime I take a vaitamin, my stomach hurts too. Something about the slow release. So instead, I take the ones that dissolve in water and then eat ALOT of fruits and veggies as my main food. I rarely take meds like mucinex because your bodies natural balance can be thrown WAY off and you can end up the worse for wear. Meds are good, but they are not a daily supplement. and vitamins are good, but you are only supposed to take one multi a day. Please have a serious heart to heart with his dad and say you are proud of him for wanting to keep him healthy and appreciate the effort, BUT, the doctor says he can only have ___________. And get your doctor to sign a note for him, so he has proof (keep a copy for yourself, too). THis way he knows you appreciate his efforts and are also concerned only for the health of his son/your son. Make it a team effort. Have him come to the doctor, too, if that helps.
Hope this helps.
-E.

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W.M.

answers from Sacramento on

K.,
I'm not sure why he gives him two types of vitamins. But I can say my kids used to take them and there weren't any tummy issues. What is he taking the mucinex and sudafed for? Maybe he needs to cut back on those? Info like this should always be shared due to allergic reactions and such.
W. M

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H.D.

answers from San Francisco on

I think I would be more concerned about two things; A. is he getting any food with the meds? If you take some medications on an empty stomach it can give you a stomach ache. B. Could it be the other medications he is taking (more likely than the vitamins).
If your child is getting enough fruits, veggies and calcium there probably is no need for him to take vitamins...most I do not personally think it is something to make a federal case out of. IF you are that concerned, discuss it with his pediatrician with your ex-husband's knowledge and let the doctor be the deciding factor and LET IT GO. Did you ever think that maybe the stomach ache isn't from meds at all but from your child reacting to the stress between you and your ex? Something to think about....

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K.F.

answers from Salinas on

Hi K.- I don't want to sound harsh but the excessive medicines everyday is totally weird and dangerous. I have two kids (7 & 11) and have NEVER heard of any parent giving their child two different cold medicines every morning. That stuff is not meant to be taken daily and even when I take it for cold symptom relief I feel high! I can't imagine taking it everyday. Does your husband do this himself? Does he offer any explanation as to why he does this or where he got the idea? Honestly if he has your boys best interest in mind he ought to try taking that cocktail himself each morning and maybe he will realize what he's doing is not healthy. I would talk to him immediately before he does it even one more time and if necessary make a Dr. appointment and go together. Good Luck!

T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Please talk to your doctor right away. I'm sure there's nothing wrong with one daily vitamin but I have no idea WHY he would be giving your son mucinex AND sudafed every day?!?! These are strong medications, not meant to be taken frequently and certainly not together!
Your son's stomach aches may also be stress related, this is very common when kids go from house to house.
I know it can be difficult to approach a defensive ex, but try to approach it as, "I'm really glad you're giving our little guy a daily vitamin, but just wanted to let you know, the doctor says....."
Good luck :)

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