The Benefits of Vitamin C for Children
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for the human body, especially for children who are growing and developing. Vitamin C helps to maintain a healthy immune system, skin, bones, teeth, and gums. It also plays a role in wound healing, iron absorption, and collagen formation.
In this blog post, we will cover some of the benefits of vitamin C, and how you can ensure your child gets enough of this vital vitamin.
Vitamin C Benefits
The Immune System
Antioxidant Activity: Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, which means it helps protect cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Free radicals can damage immune cells and compromise their function. By neutralizing these free radicals, vitamin C helps maintain the integrity and effectiveness of the immune system.
Reduced Inflammation: Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the severity of inflammatory responses. While inflammation is a natural part of the immune system’s defense mechanism, chronic or excessive inflammation can harm the body. Vitamin C can help modulate this response.
Immune Cell Function: Vitamin C is essential for the production and function of various immune cells, including white blood cells such as neutrophils, lymphocytes, and phagocytes. These cells are responsible for detecting and destroying pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and other harmful invaders.
Physical Defences: Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen, a protein that is crucial for maintaining the health of skin, mucous membranes, and connective tissues. These physical barriers are the first line of defense against pathogens, and vitamin C helps keep them strong and effective.
Enhanced Antibody Production: Vitamin C supports the production of antibodies, which are proteins that help the immune system identify and neutralize specific pathogens. This antibody response is essential for the body’s ability to remember and defend against previously encountered invaders.
Iron Absorption: Vitamin C can enhance the absorption of non-heme iron, which is the type of iron found in plant-based foods and supplements.
To optimize iron absorption, it is recommended to consume vitamin C-rich foods or supplements in combination with iron-containing foods or supplements, especially for individuals who rely on plant-based sources of iron. This is particularly important for vegetarians and vegans who may have lower iron intake from their diet.
Bone Health: Vitamin C also plays a role in bone development and maintenance. It aids in the absorption of calcium and helps form collagen, which is a key component of bones and cartilage. Proper vitamin C intake can contribute to healthy bone growth and reduce the risk of fractures.
Cognitive Development and Mood: Vitamin C is not only important for physical health but also for cognitive development in children. It serves as a potent antioxidant that protects brain cells from oxidative stress and may enhance cognitive function. Vitamin C may also help to prevent or treat depression and anxiety in children by modulating the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine in the brain.
Skin Health: Healthy skin is not just about appearance but also about protection against environmental factors and infections. Vitamin C supports skin health by promoting collagen production and by acting as an antioxidant, which helps defend against UV radiation and free radicals.
Wound Healing and Tissue Repair: Children are prone to minor injuries and wounds as they explore and play. Vitamin C is crucial for collagen production, a protein that plays a vital role in wound healing and tissue repair. Adequate vitamin C intake ensures that the body can repair cuts, bruises, and scrapes efficiently.
How Much Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is water soluble and cannot be stored by the body.
The recommended dietary (from food) allowance (RDA) for vitamin C for children ranges from 15 to 45 mg per day:
- 15 mg per day for ages 1 to 3 years,
- 25 mg per day for ages 4 to 8 years, and
- 45 mg per day for ages 9 to 13 years.
It is important to note the RDA levels are the minimum amount needed to prevent clinical deficiencies and illness caused by these deficiencies, such as scurvy (vitamin C) and rickets (vitamin D).
Some experts suggest that higher doses may be beneficial for optimal health and disease prevention. This is especially important to consider for very active children, or those with digestive issues.
The upper limit for vitamin C intake for children is as follows:
- 400 mg per day for ages 1 to 3 years,
- 650 mg per day for ages 4 to 8 years, and
- 1200 mg per day for ages 9 to 13 years.
The upper limit is the highest level that can be taken daily for the majority of the population and is unlikely to lead to adverse effects.
Sources of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables, such as citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes. However, vitamin C is easily destroyed by heat, light, and air, so it is important to consume fresh and raw foods as much as possible.
Alternatively, you can give your child a vitamin C supplement in the form of chewable tablets, or liquid drops. Make sure to choose a high-quality product that contains natural sources of vitamin C and no sugars, artificial colours, flavours, or sweeteners. Sugar hinders the absorption of vitamin C and should not be added to any vitamin C suppplement/gummy.
Vitamin C helps to maintain a healthy immune system, skin, bones, teeth, and gums. It also plays a role in wound healing, iron absorption, and collagen formation.
KidStar’s Vitamin C is a tasty, tangerine-flavoured tablet for kids ages 3+ and adults. Contains 250 mg of vitamin C from magnesium ascorbate per tablet for optimal absorption. Magnesium ascorbate is a form of vitamin C that combines ascorbic acid with magnesium. When the two are combined, a new molecule is created. It is a non-acidic and buffered supplement that has a higher gastrointestinal tolerance than regular vitamin C. Magnesium ascorbate may be beneficial for people who have sensitive stomachs and cannot tolerate acidic forms of vitamin C.
Find Vitamin C Here
Delicious chewable vitamin C from gentle magnesium ascorbate.
About the Author
Rhianna Ross, R.H.N., is a registered holistic nutritionist based in Vancouver, BC. Rhianna has more than a decade of experience in the natural health and wellness industry, and currently works at KidStar Nutrients, where she enjoys reviewing and analyzing the latest nutritional research papers, meta-analyses, and journal articles.