What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that is natural present in fruits and vegetables! Citrus fruits, tomatoes and potatoes are MAJOR sources of vitamin C. Other sources includes capsicum, kiwifruit, broccoli and berries. Some foods such as breads and cereals can also be "fortified" with Vitamin C. This is when food manufacturers add Vitamin C to foods that typically aren't very high in Vitamin C to increase the Vitamin C content.
Unfortunately unlike most animals, we (humans) are unable to synthesize or produce Vitamin C endogenously or from within our own bodies. This means that we have to rely on eating a variety of different fruits and vegetables.
Why is Vitamin C important?
Vitamin C is required in the biosynthesis of collagen, L-carnitine and certain neurotransmitters and it also plays a very important role in protein metabolism and wound healing. Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant and plays an important role in supporting the immune system. Vitamin C plays an important role in facilitating and improving the absorption of iron. This is super important for families with kids suffering from low iron levels or iron deficiency.
How much Vitamin C do kids need?
0-6 months 25mg/day
7-12 months 30mg/day
Do i need to use a Vitamin C supplement?
If your kids are eating 4-5 serves of colourfrul fruits and vegetables everyday then they are low risk for a Vitamin C deficiency. I always suggest "food first strategies" because there are so many other important and amazing components to the foods we eat to fuel our bodies!!
If your child has low iron levels and also doesn't eat a great deal of fruits then a vitamin supplement might be best in the short term, at least until your child is willing and accepting to eat a wider variety and range of fruits and vegetables. Remember to always check with a health professional prior to commencing vitamin supplementation.
Remember to keep food fun and mix up the way you are offering the fruits and vegetables. If you are having difficulties getting your kids to eat a wide variety of foods then it might be time to see a paediatric dietitian for support and advice, alternatively discuss some options with your GP.