As a parent, you worry when your kids are poorly or not feeling their best. You want to do everything possible to keep your children fit and well, happy and healthy. And that sometimes means vitamins!
When kids get the all vitamins and minerals they need they feel great. Their bodies grow and develop in the right way, the way they should. Your children are lively and playful and happy, they sleep well, and they can fight off diseases and illnesses better than ever before. They perform better at school because vitamins are known for creating a healthy brain as well as a healthy body. They’re better at sports, more confident as well as fitter and healthier.
This article is all about vitamins for kids, how much to dose, the side effects, and the many benefits. But first, let’s look at vitamins in general. What are vitamins for kids, and why are they so important?
What are vitamins, why do we need them, and what do they do for us?
Vitamins are simply organic compounds. Because they always contain carbon, vitamins qualify as organic. We all need small amounts of them to live healthy lives, and we can become very ill or even die without some essential vitamins.
Humans usually get our vitamins from food, and that’s where the problem lies. We don’t all have access to a varied and healthy diet, so we don’t always get all the vitamins we need. One exception is vitamin D. We can’t eat enough vitamin D. You would need to eat mountains of the right foods to get enough! Because we need a lot of it, our bodies synthesize vitamin D from sunlight. In northern regions, where it’s dark in winter, and in southern regions where it’s dark in summer, we don’t tend to get enough sunlight. Many northern Europeans suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, which is why it’s so important for us to spend time in the fresh air, even during winter.
So our bodies rarely make their own vitamins, and any vitamins we can make ourselves, inside us, are not made in the right quantities. Humans are unique. Your pet dog, for example, needs different vitamins than you. Most mammals, including dogs, can make enough of their own vitamin C, but we can’t. All this means vitamin for kids is essential for a long, healthy, and happy life.
Vitamin for kids – Facts about vitamins
To understand how vital vitamins are for child health, all you need to do is take a look at some of the facts. They show you exactly how important vitamins are for childhood development. Here are some facts for you.
A vitamin is an essential nutrient, and there are 13 vitamins recognized by science. A vitamin can be either fat-soluble or water-soluble. Our bodies store tat-soluble vitamins in the fatty tissues and liver. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble, which makes them easier to store than water-soluble vitamins. In fact vitamins, D, E, A, and K can stick around in your body for a long time, sometimes as long as months.
Water-soluble vitamins are different. They don’t stick around for long, and your body can’t store them for later. This means you need a constant supply of water-soluble vitamins. Vitamin C and all the B vitamins are water-soluble.
- When you cook vegetables slowly for a long time you reduce the vitamins they contain
- Vitamin E actually contains 8 different E vitamins
- Vitamin C has a short half-life of just 30 minutes inside your body. That’s why you need to take some vitamin C every day
- We can’t live without iron – it’s essential for transporting oxygen
- If you use too much sunscreen, especially on your children’s skin, they can end up with a vitamin D deficiency. Your kids need sunlight but don’t let them burn
- If you want your body to absorb iron well, don’t drink tea or coffee with your food – they make it hard for you to absorb iron
- You can go blind without enough vitamin A
- In Finland, scientists have found that low vitamin D levels are linked to gum disease. People with chronic gum disease also had very low levels of vitamin D in their blood
- Vitamin A was the first to be discovered, in 1913
- Vitamin C helps your body heal
- Vitamin D cures rickets
- Vitamin B1 cures the wasting disease beriberi
- Vitamin A is important for reproductive function in both men and women
- The last vitamin to be found by science was in 1941. It was Folic Acid
- Always store your vitamins in a cool dry place away from heat and sunlight – otherwise, they degrade
- Vitamin C was discovered by the Hungarian biochemist and Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi in 1937
- Go out in the sunshine and your body can create all the vitamin D it needs for the day in just 20 minutes. It takes longer – a lot longer – in winter when it’s dark and there isn’t much sunshine
What are the effects of vitamin deficiency in kids and teens?
It’s important to give your children a varied and well-balanced diet to make sure they are getting all the micronutrients their bodies need to develop properly. Children who have healthy, balanced diets get all their nutrients from food. But if your child is a fussy eater, has a health condition that affects their nutrition, or eats a vegetarian or vegan diet, they may need to take supplements. If you live in a place where a varied diet is difficult to achieve, or you can’t afford the variety of foods a child needs for a balanced diet, good quality vitamin supplements could be the solution.
It’s important to make sure you buy high-quality, child-focused supplements for your kids. Vitamin supplements for adults contain too much of the active ingredients for a child’s body, and too much of a good thing can cause health problems.
What happens when a child or teen suffers from a vitamin deficiency?
If your child eats a plant-based diet they could risk not getting enough calcium, iron, zinc, plus vitamins B12 and D. A Vegan diet is usually dangerously low in vitamin B12, found naturally in animal products. It is difficult to get enough of it even when you give your child specially fortified foods. Not getting enough of these essentials can mean abnormal growth as well as delayed childhood development. (Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamins-for-kids#risk-groups)
Your child may suffer from celiac or inflammatory bowel disease. It will damage the areas of the gut that absorb vitamins, and it can be hard for them to absorb some vitamins and minerals. Children with cystic fibrosis have problems absorbing fat, and they struggle to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Cancer and other serious diseases can make supplements vital, used to prevent illness-related malnutrition. And if a child is very picky about what they eat, they can suffer from very low micronutrients. In one piece of research, picky eating was associated with unusually low levels of iron and zinc.
A deficiency of Vitamin A in kids causes eyesight problems, which can lead to something called night blindness. A lack of vitamin A can also cause weakness, weight loss, hair loss, fatigue, scaly skin, dry eyes, and infections of the respiratory tract. Vitamin D deficiency causes muscle cramps, irritability, stunted growth, and breathing problems.
A deficiency of Vitamin C in youngsters leads to dry skin, joint pain lost appetite and lots of infections. It can also lead to chronic nose bleeds, anemia, gingivitis (gum disease), slow healing from injuries, and easy bruising.
When a child or teen doesn’t get the vitamin E they need, they can suffer from weak muscles, droopy eyelids, liver disease, motor speech problems, plus poor muscle movement and coordination.
A vitamin B6 deficiency in kids causes anemia, seizures, irritability and weakness, tantrums, hyperactivity, and attention disorders. And not having enough vitamin B12 has serious effects on brain function as well as the nervous system and the heart, weakness, edema – also called fluid retention, plus abdominal pain and insomnia.
Which foods contain essential vitamins for kids?
So how can you provide these essential vitamins for kids? One way is through the food they eat, the other way is using good quality vitamin supplements for kids.
- Get vitamin A from eggs, milk, cheese, squash, sweet potato, carrots
- Get vitamin B2, B3, B12, and B6 from fish, chicken, eggs, meat, milk, beans, nuts, and cheese
- Get vitamin C from citrus fruit, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, and kiwi fruit
- Get vitamin D from egg yolks, yogurt, cheese, and milk
- Get vitamin E from avocados, vegetable oil, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds, and most nuts
- Get vitamin K from dark green, leafy vegetables, and vegetable oils
Vitamin D deficiency and Covid-19
The latest research reveals how a vitamin D deficiency could see your child at greater risk of dying from Covid-19. (Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11921969/8-signs-low-levels-vitamin-d-linked-to-greater-risk-covid-death/ )
A few recent pieces of research have hinted that some vitamins might be important in the fight against COVID. So far the research shows that getting enough vitamin D could give a person life-saving benefits against the virus that has changed our world. Now the B vitamins are also being added to the list as scientists say they could be ‘pivotal’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
The new research, published in the medical journal Maturitas, says the B vitamins are vital for keeping the immune system running in the best condition. Only then can the system fight the potentially dangerous inflammation you get from Covid-19 properly.
Vitamin B helps build and keep a healthy immune system. But it also looks like it might stop or reduce the symptoms of COVID-19. The report’s authors suggest it’s a good idea to assess the vitamin B group bearing the virus in mind. It could eventually be used as a non-pharmaceutical extra treatment.
Vitamin B has an important role to play in the function of the body’s cells, the metabolism of energy, and the body’s immune system. It also supports the body’s cytokine levels to help with good breathing, strong blood vessels, and minimal blood clotting problems. Scientists feel these vitamins might even cut the time a person needs to spend in a hospital with Covid-19.
Children are thought to be at less risk than grown-ups of catching the virus. But some children have been very ill and a few have died from COVId. Anything you can do to protect your kids must be a good thing! Bearing in mind that the novel coronavirus is mainly respiratory, attacking the lungs, causing inflammation and blood clotting, B vitamins could prove to be very useful in combating COVID.
As the report says, vitamin B1 improves immune function, can reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes, and maintains healthy levels of oxygen in the blood. Type-2 diabetes is one of the biggest risk factors behind the death of the disease. One study found that 10% percent of people with diabetes who were hospitalized with the virus died within seven days of being admitted. And low blood oxygen levels have been a symptom of the virus in many people, with almost 20% of patients with blood oxygen levels less than 95%.
In total Vitamin B2, B3, and B5, B6, B9, and B12 all have beneficial effects for people who catch Covid-19. And that’s good to know when you want to keep your child safe.
About vitamin for kids – Vitamin dosage for kids
Maybe your child has a restricted diet of some kind, can’t absorb nutrients well, or is fussy about what they eat. They can benefit from vitamins for kids. But remember to always talk things through with your doctor first, and insist on good quality vitamins, properly tested for children and safe for kids. Again, never use adult vitamin supplements because they will far exceed the number of vitamins a child’s smaller body needs.
We use three kinds of units used to measure the amounts of minerals and vitamins.
- Milligrams – a milligram is one-thousandth of a gram, mg
- Micrograms – a microgram is one-millionth of a gram, μg or mcg
- International Units, typically used to measure amounts of vitamins A, D, and E, IU
Here’s an example. Vitamin E boosts the immune system as well as keeping blood vessels clear and the blood flowing smoothly. The dosages for children are:
- Aged 1-3 – 9 IU of vitamin E a day
- Aged 4-8 – 10.4 IU
- Aged 9-13 – 16.4 IU
- Teens – the same as adults – 22 IU daily.
We provide some more guidance about doses later in this article.
You need to remember that vitamin supplements can be toxic to children when they take too large a dose. This is very important for the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, those the body stores within the fat cells. It’s also sometimes a good idea to avoid Gummy Vitamins, especially for very young kids, because they are far too much like sweets and children can overdose on them. Vitamins are not sweets!
As a rule, it’s best to store vitamins out of reach of young children and teach teens how to stick to a safe dose. If you think your child has taken too much of a vitamin supplement, see your doctor straight away.
Vitamin A for kids
As a parent you want your child to have all the advantages you can provide, so they enjoy a long, happy, healthy childhood. Vitamin A for kids helps you achieve the best for your child. Vitamin A is essential for the development and function of the eyes, skin, immune system, and many other parts of the body. The dosages for children are:
- Less than 600 mcg a day for children up to 3 years old
- Less than 900 mcg for children aged 4-8
- Less than 1700 mcg for those aged 9-13
- Less than 2800 mcg for kids aged 14 – 18
Vitamin A is really important for babies and young children, who don’t always get enough of it. This vitamin strengthens their immune system, can help improve their vision when it’s dark or dim, and also makes healthy skin. You can get lots of vitamin A from dairy products, fortified fat spreads, various fruits and vegetables including carrots, swede, and mangoes, spinach, cabbage, and broccoli.
Vitamin supplements containing vitamins A and C are recommended for babies and children of 6 months to 5 years old. The exception is if your child is getting more than 500ml or a pint of special formula, which contains all the nutrients they’ll need.
Vitamin B6 for kids
Every parent wants their child to have the best start in life, and that means great nutrition from the very start. One of the most important childhood vitamins of all is vitamin B6.
B vitamins are essential for a healthy metabolism, lots of energy, a healthy heart, and a great nervous system. B12 is probably the most important of all. Here are the recommended dosages:
- Babies should be given 0.5 micrograms a day
- Toddlers should be given 0.9 micrograms
- Children aged 4-8 should be given 1.2 micrograms
- Children aged 9-13 should be given 1.8 micrograms
- Teens should take 2.4 micrograms a day
- Pregnant teens should take 2.6 micrograms
Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin. It’s used for a healthy metabolism, nervous system, and immune system as well as converting amino acids and other vitamins into essential substances for the body to use.
A study by the Department of Pediatrics at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore (source: https://www.livestrong.com/article/276077-what-are-the-dangers-of-b6-vitamins-in-children/)looked at children with ADHD. It found that children with ADHD on thiamine supplements got worse when given vitamin B6, and those who responded well to vitamin B6 got worse when given thiamine. It looks like the two don’t go together well, something for you to think about with your child.
Too much vitamin B6 can also lead to nerve damage to the arms and legs, usually from too-high dosages. Luckily the condition can reverse once the child stops taking the vitamin. Seizures in newborn babies can happen when pregnant mothers take high doses of B6. Too much B6 in children can also result in respiratory distress, sedation, and poor muscle tone also called hypotonia. Vitamin B6 can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or loss of appetite in children and adults. Children can also suffer from headaches, light sensitivity, sleepiness, tingling, chest pain, and skin rashes. If it happens to your child, see a doctor straight away.
Before giving a vitamin B6 supplement to your child, always consult your doctor.
Vitamin C for kids
We all know about vitamin C, a magic vitamin that helps children thrive in so many ways. If your child isn’t getting enough vitamin C, you could always try a supplement. It matters a lot because vitamin C is used in the maintenance of our bones, muscle, and blood vessels, all essential for a happy, healthy, good life.
- Kids aged 1–3 years – 15 mg daily
- Kids aged 4–8 years – 25 mg
- Kids aged 9–13 years – 45 mg
- Teens aged 14–18 years – 65–75 mg
(Source: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/ )Acute vitamin C deficiency leads to scurvy, which results in fatigue, malaise, and inflammation of the gums. Our connective tissues become weak, leading to joint pain, poor wound healing, depression, swollen, bleeding gums and loose teeth, plus iron deficiency because of the increased bleeding and decreased iron absorption we suffer. In children, it can also lead to bone disease. Scurvy can kill if left untreated.
Vitamin C supplements for kids are great but take care. Adult supplements contain enough vitamin C to be toxic to children, and it’s always best to give your child a balanced diet containing plenty of fresh foods. If your doctor recommends vitamin C supplements for your child, buy a reliable brand.
Too-large doses of Vitamin C supplements can cause nausea, gas and diarrhea, stomach inflammation, and kidney stones. They can also stop medicines like ibuprofen, tetracycline, warfarin, barbiturates, and chemotherapy drugs from working properly. If your child is already taking extra nutrients like copper, vitamin B-12, or iron, they should not take a vitamin C supplement.
Vitamin D for kids
A child with good, well-developed bones is strong and sturdy, and the beneficial effects of vitamin D are quite something. They last for life, and can even help you stay strong into old age. We all love sunlight, but because it contains vitamin D, sunlight is much more than a lovely thing. It’s vital for your child’s ongoing health and happiness.
Vitamin D and calcium build strong bones as well as protecting against serious diseases as we age. Here are the recommended doses:
- Babies and children – At least 400 IU a day
- Breastfed babies need vitamin D supplement drops until they’re weaned
Vitamin D is only found in a few foods, things as eggs and oily fish. It is also added to some cereals and butter alternatives. The best source of all is sunlight, fine in summer but a challenge in the winter. At the same time as making sure your child gets lots of fresh air, it’s important to prevent sunburn.
Young children benefit from vitamin D supplements even though they’re out in the sun. Breast-fed babies aged up to 1 year should get a daily supplement even if you take a vitamin D supplement yourself. If your baby is on a formula, they don’t need a vitamin D supplement because the formula contains everything they need.
The function of vitamins
Every vitamin has its own special properties. They all have an important job to do, and they all help a child become the best they can be for life. Do you know what all the essential vitamins do for your child’s health and well-being? Here’s some insight for you.
- Vitamin A helps maintain healthy teeth, bones, soft tissue, mucous membranes, and skin
- Vitamin B6 helps form red blood cells and maintain a healthy brain. It also drives some of the most important chemical reactions in the body
- Vitamin B12 gives your child a healthy metabolism, helps with red blood cell production, and is essential for a healthy nervous system
- Niacin is a B vitamin that maintains healthy skin and nerves, with a cholesterol-lowering effect when you take a high dose
- Riboflavin, also called vitamin B2, works together with the other B vitamins for good body growth and red blood cell production
- Thiamine, also called vitamin B1, helps your child transform carbohydrates into energy
- Vitamin C promotes healthy teeth and gums, as well as keeps tissue healthy. It’s good for encouraging wounds to heal faster
- Vitamin D helps your child’s body absorb calcium, which they need for healthy teeth and bones. It also helps maintain good levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood
- Vitamin E is an antioxidant also known as tocopherol. It helps the body form red blood cells and does what it needs to do with vitamin K
- Vitamin K makes the different elements in your blood stick together. It might also be useful for healthy bones
- Biotin metabolizes proteins and carbohydrates and helps your child make the hormones and cholesterol they need
- Folate combines with vitamin B12 to help form healthy red blood cells and for healthy DNA. Folate is really important in pregnancy because low levels of folate are linked to birth defects
- Pantothenic acid helps people metabolize food as well as make hormones and cholesterol
- Choline helps the brain work well and also benefits the nervous system
- Carnitine helps the body transform fatty acids into energy
In conclusion – Every child deserves the best start in life
Every child deserves a great, healthy, balanced diet that contains all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals they need. When your body gets everything it needs to grow and thrive, as a child, you can experience better health and well-being as an adult. At the same time we don’t all have access to the full range of good foods, often because healthy food tends to cost more than poor food, and sometimes simply because of the culture and country we live in.
Vitamin for kids is a reliable way t supplement your children’s diet so you know for sure they’re getting the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients they need for a good life. But at the same time, it is really important to make sure you don’t make your child ill by giving them the wrong vitamins or getting the dosage wrong. Plenty of vitamins have bad side effects when you take too much – they are powerful substances, and a little of them often goes a long way.
It’s important to buy the best quality vitamin supplements for children you can afford. Make certain they are formulated for young people, not adults since dosages for grown-ups are too high for smaller bodies. And check the packaging carefully, reading the instructions to make sure you get the dose right. Take care of buying vitamins for kids online.
It makes sense to find an online childhood vitamin supplier you can trust, who sells brands you can trust to do the right thing. Buy super-cheap vitamins and you might find they are not what they say they are, don’t work at all, or are actually dangerous.
Can we help you?
We at Family Care Nutrition sell a wide range of vitamins for kids, every different type you could need. And we only sell the best, most trusted brands to keep your family safe and well. We provide top-class service, fast deliveries, and advice you can trust, given by experts who really care. Please check out some of those products below –