The benefits of many nutritional supplements for children are compromised by the fact that they contain refined sugar or artificial sweeteners. It is possible to find alternatives to these products, especially in health food stores, which often carry liquid vitamin formulas sweetened with honey or rice syrup. Nutritional supplements are best administered with meals (usually afterward, except in the case of a purely mineral supplement, which should be given before). Parents need to treat nutritional supplements with the same caution as other pills in the household, as an accidental overdose can be serious or even fatal, especially when it involves supplements that contain iron.
Adverse reactions have been reported for the following vitamins in the dosages listed: vitamin A (over 25,000 international units [IU] or more daily for several months); vitamin B 6 (200-500 mg daily for several months); vitamin C (doses above 1,000 mg daily for long periods of time); vitamin D (more than 5,000 IU a day for several weeks); and zinc (more than 20 mg a day for over a month).