Vitamin C For Kids: Why It’s Important
  /   Dr. John Snow

Vitamin C For Kids: Why It’s Important

Children need clothes, shoes, and toys. They need laughter, love, family, and friends. They also need a lot of nutrition to help them thrive into adulthood. Vitamin C is an important part of your growing child’s diet. It helps to support many key functions in your child’s body, which is of the utmost importance while that body is still growing and developing.

How Much Vitamin C is Necessary for Children?

Vitamin C is necessary for children, and most don't need a tremendous amount. Needs change during different phases of growth and development, and some children may require more vitamin C than others. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about their vitamin C needs, and use the recommended daily allowance guidelines as a reference point.*

  • Up to six months: 40 mg daily
  • Seven months to 1 year: 50 mg daily
  • One to three years: 15 mg daily
  • Four to eight years: 25 mg daily
  • Nine to 13 years: 45 mg daily

As a point of reference, these foods are excellent sources of vitamin C to incorporate into your 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 of vitamin C

It shouldn’t be too difficult to convince a child to eat an orange, a kiwi, or a few strawberries. Children tend to like the naturally sweet flavor of fresh fruits.

However, children who don’t like fruits can easily obtain enough vitamin C through foods like pasta with marinara sauce or tomato soup. 

Just be cautious about using fruit juice in place of actual fruit. 

Fruit juices, even those marketed as 100% juice, are often full of added sugar and don’t contain the fiber known to offset some of the headaches caused by sugar. If your child likes to drink juice, serving small amounts of 100% juice is always the best option. 

Supporting Bone Growth

When most people think about bone health, calcium and vitamin D are the first two things that come to mind. While they’re instrumentally important, they aren’t the only vitamins and minerals that bones need to grow healthy and strong. Vitamin C is just as important

Vitamin C plays a vital role in helping the body to produce collagen, and collagen is a core building block of bone. In order for bones to grow up to their fullest potential and achieve proper density, the body needs a sufficient amount of collagen.

So, the next time you tell your child to drink their milk for healthy bones, don’t forget the vitamin C. They work together as a happy bone-building family of nutrients. 

Keeping Skin Healthy

Children are adventurous. No matter how closely you watch them and how much you emphasize safety, there seems to be a daredevil lurking within every child’s soul. They want to climb trees and go skateboarding. They chase the neighborhood cat into the hedges. They play sports with their peers. This often results in cuts and scrapes.
Much like with bone, the skin needs to produce sufficient collagen to heal itself. Holding a scar 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 the skin healthy and promote healing. Without it, wounds will be slow to heal or may not properly close. 

Children approaching puberty may begin to develop acne. Vitamin C helps the skin heal after breakouts and after your teen picks at their pimples even after their dermatologist has explicitly mentioned not to. 

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

Acting as an Antioxidant

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

When they reach the body, they attempt to steal electrons from cells. This can lead to cell damage that negatively impacts health.

Vitamin C will freely give those electrons away, deterring harmful free radicals from attacking or damaging healthy cells. Antioxidants protect everyone at any age, and they’re always a valuable part of a healthy diet. 

Fortifying the Immune System

Vitamin C is typically associated with its positive effect on the immune system. Vitamin C will not treat or cure a common cold, but it can help the body in its quest to naturally protect itself against invaders that mean to do harm. 

Children tend to find germs just about everywhere they go. Little ones are still learning the importance of proper hygiene habits, and toddlers often place things in their mouths to explore the world. 

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

Helps Support Nervous System Health

Almost all of your growing child’s milestones are dependent on the health of their nervous system. Coordination, walking, talking, memory, and learning are all dependent on a functional nervous system. Vitamin C is known to help support nervous system health.* 

Vitamin C is also known to support the structure of neurons and to modulate neurotransmission. It helps the brain and body communicate effectively.* 

Assisting in the Absorption of Minerals

Vitamin C helps the body to absorb key minerals like iron when they’re used in conjunction with each other. If your child has problems with absorption or an iron deficiency, vitamin C may be an important addition to their diet. Be sure to speak with your pediatrician about your child’s vitamin C requirements. 

Can My Child Have Too Much Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is water-soluble. 

Water-soluble vitamins need to be ingested every day. The body purges the excess on a regular basis, and your child won’t accumulate stores of vitamin C.

It’s 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 consumes too much vitamin C for several consecutive days, they may experience an upset stomach or diarrhea. These symptoms typically resolve independently, although a change of diet may be to prevent the situation from recurring. 

If you believe your child has ingested an excessive amount of vitamin C, call your pediatrician immediately. In some cases, electrolyte drinks formulated for children may be necessary to replenish fluids lost through diarrhea. 

What to Do When You Have a Picky Eater

You love your beautiful child. You revel in the joy and laughter. You also have massive internal frustration when they push everything healthy to the opposite side of the plate in favor of gobbling up their nuggets. You’re kind and patient, but on the inside, you’re nervous. 

How could your child possibly be getting enough vitamins when they won’t eat anything that contains them?

Working through picky eating is a slow and deliberate process. It’s undoubtedly worth pursuing appropriately (and without a twinge of anger in your voice), but until you get to the end of that road and see your child eating sprouts and beets without complaint, you may need to fill the obvious gaps. 

Try introducing your child to more foods naturally rich in vitamin C. You may not have an issue with sweet fruits like strawberries, particularly if they’re mixed into a tasty treat like whole-grain breakfast cereal or low-fat yogurt. Just don’t attempt to hide the food. Let your child know they’re enjoying strawberries and allow them to get excited about trying new things.

Inevitably, there will be some foods that your child won’t like. As an adult, you probably have foods you’ve disliked since childhood that you’re still suffering through at grown-up dinner parties. 

That’s perfectly fine. 

Introduce alternative sources if your child can’t stand the thought of eating an orange. Maybe your child will have a greater appreciation for the satisfying crunch of bell peppers. 

Helping your child stay healthy

Hiya is here with the answer to all your picky eating woes. Our vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, non-GMO children’s multivitamin was designed with picky eaters in mind. 

We work with pediatricians to determine what vitamins and minerals were underrepresented in the average American child’s diet.* Through that, we at Hiya Health have created a junk-free chewable multivitamin designed for children...and their taste buds.

Sources:

Vitamin C - Consumer | National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements

Vitamins for Bone Health | American Bone Health

Vitamin C in Health and Disease: Its Role in the Metabolism of Cells and Redox State in the Brain | Frontiers in Physiology

Too much vitamin C: What are the side effects and risks? Medical News Today 

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