Vitamin C - Are Your Kids Getting Enough to Fight Off The Cold Season

Vitamin C is regarded as the cure for the common cold. Well, maybe not cure, but a means to end a cold quickly or keep on from coming on. But let's take a look at some of the things associated with it and some key food sources. And always remember that even though I break out different vitamins separately, you should provide your child with a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin C's Function

As humans we lost our ability to manufacturer Vit. C in our bodies long ago. It's really a shame too but then we'd never get to experience all those wonderful foods that provide our C vitamins. One more point I want to make is that "C" is absolutely necessary for the normal growth and development of your child. It is a necessary component in the development of collagen. This is an important protein for the production of skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Not to mention Vit C is essential for regular repair and maintenance of bones, cartilage, and teeth.

As one of many antioxidants which also includes Vitamin E and Beta Carotene (Vitamin A precursor), these nutrients help to block some of the damage caused by "free radicals" (by products when food is turned into energy).

Build up of free radicals over time can be associated to the onset of the aging process and have been shown to be part of the development of various degenerative diseases such as Cancer, Heart Disease, and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. Antioxidants help fight the effects of "free radicals" and to aid in the reduction of damage caused by pollutants (like cigarette smoke) and toxic chemicals.

Dietary Sources

It goes without saying that the best way to get your required daily allowance of Vit. C is to eat a balanced diet that contains the appropriate portions of fruits and vegetables. The US Department of Agriculture introduced a new food guide in 2005. called My Pyramid which cites the appropriate intake in cups or ounces versus "portion size".

Some High Source Vit. C Foods

  • Green Peppers
  • Citrus Fruits and Juices
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Turnip Greens and other leafy greens
  • Sweet and white potatoes
  • Cantalope

Other sources include: Pineapples, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, red peppers, cabbage, winter squash, papaya, mango, watermelon, and brussel sprouts. (Good luck getting your kids to eat that last one.)

Too Little?

The RDA minimum was established to set the bar at the prevention of scurvy. That isn't really a common place disease today but here are some signs that may provide clues about Vitamin C deficiency:

  • Anemia
  • Lowered/decreased ability to fight infection
  • Swollen and painful joints
  • Nosebleeds
  • Easy Bruising
  • Slower wound-healing rate
  • Dry/Splitting hair
  • Inflamed (Gingivitis) and/or bleeding gums
  • Slowed metabolism that can lead to weight gain

How Much Should My Kids Take?

It takes a lot of Vit. C to reach a level of toxicity. However some signs that your child may have a high level could be diarrhea or stomach upset.

The supplements that my children and I take provide just under 2000/mg a day of highly available/absorbale Vit. C. While that is the generally held upper limits, my kids don't seem to encounter any discomfort due to their high level of physical activity.

This high level of physical activity will deplete the body's stores that much more rapidly and as previously stated the body does not manufacture or store Vitamin C on its own.


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