Vitamin C For Kids: Why Do They Need It And What's The Dosage

citamin c for kids

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Children need 25mg to 45mg vitamin C every day, depending on their age. When your child takes the vitamin in the right amount, it improves their immunity and propels their growth.

Is your child getting adequate vitamin C every day? What would happen in the case of deficiency and how can you increase its consumption?

MomJunction answers these questions and also tells you more about vitamin C for children. Read on.

Why Should Your Child Take Vitamin C?

You should make sure that your child’s diet contains vitamin C because human bodies cannot produce this micronutrient endogenously (from within).

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient, which means that its excess quantity doesn’t stay in the body but gets washed out. This makes it necessary for the child to take it every day.
The daily intake benefits the child in more ways than one. Let’s see what they are.

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What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin C For Children?

Vitamin C helps keep your child healthy and strong. Here are some of the ways it is useful (1), (2):

  • Heals wounds
  • Prevents infections
  • Maintains good bone structure
  • Keeps skin healthy
  • Keeps bones and connective tissue strong
  • Supports protein metabolism
  • Used in prevention and treatment of cancer
  • Helps in forming collagen and improved iron absorption
  • Added to the biosynthetic and antioxidant properties, vitamin C plays a crucial role in strengthening immunity

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[ Read: Vitamin E For Kids ]

Does vitamin C treat a cold?

The answer is yes and no because the result may vary from child to child (3). Vitamin C does not prevent the cold but can cut-short the longevity, and also reduce the severity of the symptoms. However, it may not work if you begin taking vitamin C after the onset of the cold.

Your child needs to take high amounts of the vitamin for it to have an effect on cold. But the other above-mentioned benefits can be reaped with the right quantities of the micronutrient.

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How Much Vitamin C Does Your Child Need?

Here is the age-wise daily recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin C for kids (4):

Age Boy Girl
1–3 years 15mg 15mg
4–8 years 25mg 25mg
9–13 years 45mg 45mg
14–18 years 75mg 65mg

Vitamin C is abundantly available in a variety of foods.

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[ Read: Vitamin A Benefits For Children ]

What Are The Sources Of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is found in different fruits and vegetables, such as (5), (6):

  • Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes
  • Blackcurrants
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwis
  • Grapefruit
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Green peas
  • Green, yellow and red pepper
  • Sprouts
  • Tomatoes
  • Baked potatoes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Broccoli
  • Guava

Some other sources of vitamin C are cereals, bread, oats, noodles, rice, pasta, polenta, tofu, fish, lean meats, eggs, milk, cheese, and yogurt.

Vitamin C is available in several foods and hence its deficiency is rare. However, it cannot be ruled out in children, who do not eat enough fruits and vegetables.

Children who are exposed to cigarette smoke may also have a deficiency.

If you are concerned that your child is not getting sufficient dose of vitamin C, check for any deficiency symptoms.

[ Read: Calcium Rich Foods For Kids ]

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What Are The Symptoms Of Vitamin C Deficiency?

Here are they (7):

  • Wounds take unusually long time to heal
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Hyperkeratosis (abnormal thickening of the outer layer of the skin)
  • Frequent cold and cough
  • Feel fatigued
  • Low immunity
  • Dry hair with splits
  • Dry and flaky skin
  • Tooth enamel erosion
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bleeding nose

Prolonged deficiency of vitamin C can result in scurvy, but that is more common in adults than in children.

If you suspect this deficiency in your child, take them to a doctor for a thorough diagnosis.

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[ Read: Vitamin B For Kids ]

How Is Vitamin C Deficiency Diagnosed?

Diagnosis is usually done for individuals, who show gingival or skin signs (8).

  • The doctor might recommend a blood test done to check the child’s vitamin C levels.
  • An x-ray can help detect scurvy in children.
  • Some academic centers measure the blood ascorbic acid in lab tests.

The doctor will suggest a treatment based on the results of the tests.

But do not overfeed your child with vitamin C or give them supplements without consulting your doctor. If taken in excess, this micronutrient can have side-effects.

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What Are The Side-Effects Of Excess Vitamin C?

The side-effects of excess vitamin C are mild because the body washes away the unused quantities. Here are some problems your child can face:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Flatulence

These problems mostly happen due to the interaction of unabsorbed vitamin C in the gastrointestinal tract.

Vitamin C is one the most important micronutrients required for a child. The good thing is that it is adequately available in the foods, and these food sources are tasty to eat. Your child wouldn’t complain having them in their diet.

[ Read: Zinc Benefits For Children ]

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Profile photo of Sudipta Jana
MA English Pursuing Child Nutrition and Cooking from Stanford University Sudipta is an English Major from the University of Hyderabad. Has considerable medical research writing experience, but also enjoys creative writing and the arts. Her writings aim to make highly scientific/ health material easy to understand for a common reader. She is also a National Novel Writing Month awardee. Sudipta loves to hit the roads to find stories and motivation to fill up her canvases and the pages of her diary.
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