Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for kids and helps keep them healthy by strengthening their immune system and keeping infections at bay.
Are your children getting enough?
We often get asked if kids need Vitamin C to stay healthy, so in this article, I’ll be walking you through some of the key benefits of Vitamin C for kids and provide a balanced view on whether you should consider a supplement.
We’ll look at:
- Why do kids need Vitamin C?
- What foods contain Vitamin C?
- Does Vitamin C stop colds in kids?
- How much Vitamin C should kids have?
By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of the benefits, and whether your kids need a Vitamin C supplement or not.
Let’s jump straight in.
Why Do Kids Need Vitamin C?
Vitamin C (also known as L-ascorbic acid) is an essential vitamin for us humans.
Unlike many animals, it’s not produced naturally in our bodies. That means it’s vital to include a source of Vitamin C in your diet or to take it as a supplement.
There is a range of reasons you should ensure your children get their Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) of Vitamin C.
Improve Their Immune System
Vitamin C has been found to improve the components of the immune system.
A strong immune system is vital for kids, especially as they’re interacting with other kids all day long at school, in the garden, or outside, and won’t be conscious about washing their hands or not touching their face.
There have also been suggested links between Vitamin C supplementation and heart-related benefits.
Vitamin C Has Been Linked to Reduction in Infections
Supplementation of Vitamin C appears to be able to help prevent respiratory and systematic infections in people.
If your kids aren’t getting enough Vitamin C, they may be at a higher risk than if they were getting enough either through their diet or through supplements.
Provide Nutrients for Kids Fed Evaporated or Boiled Milk
Both breast milk and baby milk formula supply enough Vitamin C for babies. However, if your child is drinking evaporated or boiled milk, they’ll need Vitamin C supplementation, as the heat will destroy the Vitamin.
How Much Vitamin C Should Kids Have?
So, Vitamin C is clearly an essential part of any healthy child’s diet, but how much should they be having?
It’s important they get the right amount to boost their immune system and keep them healthy.
Depending on their age, children will require slightly different amounts of Vitamin C.
Vitamin C Dietary Reference Intakes (RDI) For Kids
|Age||Vitamin C mg/Day|
|0-6 months||40 mg*|
|7-12 months||50 mg*|
|1-3 years||15 mg|
|4 – 8 years||25 mg|
|9 – 13 years||45 mg|
For babies aged 0-12 months, the Food and Nutrition Board established an Adequate Intake (AI) that is “equivalent to the mean intake of vitamin C in healthy, breastfed infants”.
It’s always best to ensure your children don’t have too much Vitamin C. However, if they eat too many oranges, there’s no need to panic.
Vitamin C has low toxicity and while there can be some side effects, it’s not linked to serious dangerous effects at high amounts.
What Foods Contain Vitamin C?
It’s no surprise that the best way to get your Vitamin C is through your diet.
Many fruits and vegetables are a great source of Vitamin C, such as:
- Citrus fruits
- Bell peppers
- Kiwi fruit
If your kids are eating five different servings of fruits and vegetables every day, chances are, they’re getting their DRI of Vitamin C.
What if your kid is a picky eater?
One of the main reasons for Vitamin C supplementation in kids is because it can be hard to get them to eat their five-a-day. Even today it’s possible for kids to get scurvy without adequate Vitamin C, so supplements can be a great way to ensure your kids are getting their required RDA
Does Vitamin C Stop Colds In Kids?
Vitamin C isn’t a miracle cure for anything.
That said, the use of Vitamin C supplements has been linked to shortening the duration of colds in kids by up to 14%.
If your kids are in an environment where they’re likely to catch a cold, you should ensure they’re getting adequate amounts of Vitamin C.
Regularly having adequate Vitamin C is essential – if you only start giving it to your kids once they already have a cold, it’s unlikely to have an effect on the duration or severity of their symptoms.
What’s the Best Vitamin C for Kids?
There’s no single “best” type of Vitamin C for kids.
If your kids can get their Vitamin C from foods that also contain other vitamins and minerals, that’s great.
But, the majority of these supplements for kids are an ideal source of Vitamin C as well. Most supplements contain the vitamin in the form of ascorbic acid, which means the body can use it in exactly the same way as it would if your kids got their Vitamin C from eating oranges or tomatoes all day.
Vitamin C is vital for any healthy child.
It’s not produced naturally in our bodies, so you need to make sure your child is eating a diet containing Vitamin C-rich fruit and vegetables to make sure they get their daily recommended allowance of Vitamin C.
If they’re a fussy eater, consider supplements to ensure they’re getting enough.
Maintaining healthy levels of Vitamin C will boost your child’s immune system, help stop infections, and keep their body healthy.
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