The Real Benefits and Importance of Vitamin C for Kids

The Real Benefits and Importance of Vitamin C for Kids

Children need clothes, shoes, and toys. They need laughter, love, family, and friends. They also need a lot of nutrients to help them develop into adulthood.

Vitamin C is an important part of a growing child's diet. It helps to support many of the main functions in a child's body, which are very important while the body is still growing and developing.

How Much Vitamin C Do Children Need?

Children need vitamin C, and even though they don't need much vitamin C.

The need for Vitamin C also changes during different phases of growth and development, and some children may need more vitamin C than others.

Talk to your child's pediatrician about their vitamin C needs, and use the recommended daily allowance (Nutritional Adequacy Rate) guidelines as a reference point.

  • Up to 6 months: 40 mg daily
  • 7 months to 1 year: 50 mg daily
  • 1 to 3 years: 15 mg daily
  • 4 to 8 years: 25 mg daily
  • 9 to 13 years: 45 mg daily

For reference, these foods are excellent sources of vitamin C to include in a child's diet:

  • One small orange -- 51 mg vitamin C
  • One kiwi -- 64 mg vitamin C
  • One strawberry -- 7 mg vitamin C
  • One medium tomato -- 17 mg vitamin C
  • One cup chopped bell pepper -- 120 mg vitamin C

It shouldn't be too difficult to convince a child to eat an orange, a kiwi, or some strawberries. Children tend to like the natural sweetness of fresh fruit.

However, children who do not like fruit can quickly get enough vitamin C through foods such as pasta with marinara sauce or tomato soup.

Be careful about using fruit juice in place of actual fruit.

Fruit juices, even those marketed as 100% juice, are often full of added sugar and lack the fiber known to offset some sugar-induced headaches. If your child likes to drink juice, serving 100% juice in small quantities is always the best option.

Supports Bone Growth

Vitamin C plays an important role in helping the body produce collagen, and collagen is the core building block of bones. In order for bones to grow optimally and reach the right density, the body requires adequate amounts of collagen.

Maintain Skin Health

Children are adventurers. No matter how closely you keep an eye on them and how much you stress safety, there seems to be a brave lurk in the soul of every child. 

They like to climb trees and skateboard. They chased the neighbor's cat to the fence. They play sports with their peers. 

This often results in cuts and scrapes. Just like bone, the skin needs to produce enough collagen to heal itself. 

Holding the scars together is an active process. It's not technically over when it's over. 

The body needs a constant supply of vitamin C to keep skin healthy and promote healing. Without it, the wound will be slow to heal or may not close properly. 

Children approaching puberty may begin to develop acne. Vitamin C helps skin heal after breakouts and after your teen pops them even after their dermatologist has explicitly told them not to. 

A dermatologist may recommend that a topical vitamin C preparation be used in conjunction with dietary vitamin C to promote optimal skin health. 

Acts as Antioxidant

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Children are exposed to pollution and free radicals every day. Harmful compounds can come into contact with the inside and outside of the body. 

When they reach the body, they try to steal electrons from the cells. This can cause cell damage that has a negative impact on health.

Vitamin C will freely release those electrons, preventing harmful free radicals from attacking or damaging healthy cells. Antioxidants protect everyone at any age, and they are always a valuable part of a healthy diet. 

Strengthens Immune System

Vitamin C is usually associated with its positive effects on the immune system. Vitamin C will not treat or cure the common cold, but it can aid the body in its efforts to naturally protect itself from attacks that are meant to be harmful. 

Children tend to find germs wherever they go. Children are still learning the importance of good hygiene habits, and toddlers often put things in their mouths to explore the world. 

Working on germ-free habits with your child is very important, and strengthening their immune system with vitamin C will help support your efforts.

Read: These are the benefits of vitamin C for eye health

Helps Support Nervous System Health

Almost all of your child's growth milestones depend on the health of their nervous system. Coordination, walking, speech, memory, and learning all depend on a functional nervous system. Vitamin C is known to help support nervous system health.

Vitamin C is also known to support neuronal structure  and modulate neurotransmission. This helps the brain and body communicate effectively.* 

Aids in Mineral Absorption

Vitamin C helps the body absorb essential minerals like iron when used together. If your child has problems with absorption or lacks iron, vitamin C can be an important addition to their diet. Be sure to talk to your pediatrician about your child's vitamin C needs. 

Can Children Have Too Much Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is water soluble. 

Water-soluble vitamins need to be taken every day. The body clears the excess regularly, and your child won't build up stored vitamin C.

It is unlikely that your child will ingest too much vitamin C. The average dose  for adults is about 75-90 mg a day, and children have smaller stomachs.

If your child takes too much vitamin C for several days in a row, they may develop stomach pain or diarrhea. These symptoms usually resolve on their own, although dietary changes may be to prevent the situation from recurring. 

If you believe your child has swallowed an excessive amount of vitamin C, contact your pediatrician immediately. In some cases, electrolyte drinks formulated for children may be needed to replenish fluids lost due to diarrhea. 

That's the article Vitamin C For Kids: Why It's Important. May be useful.

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