Vitamin C: when and how to use it, why it is important in children

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Vitamin C and children: the guide

La Vitamin C it is a panacea for the immune system. At least that's what our grandmothers, our mothers have always told us and, now that we ourselves have become mothers, we too are convinced.

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that man - large or small it may be - cannot self-produce and therefore must be taken in the form of food first of all and supplements when necessary.

Especially in this time of Covid, many mothers have asked pediatricians for advice on taking vitamin C and not just to strengthen the immune defenses of their little ones.

So let's find out more about the properties and real benefits of vitamin C for children.

In this article

  • Vitamin C what it is for
  • Where is Vitamin C found?
  • The benefits of vitamin C
  • Vitamin C deficiency in children
  • Vitamin C and colds
Read also: Pregnancy: which vitamins and minerals are important

Vitamin C what it is for

Vitamin C is among the best known vitamins. It is essential for our body, as it is used to synthesize collagen, a molecule found in the skin, bones, joints and blood vessel walls.

Her regular intake, through nutrition and supplements, ensures proper functioning of the immune system, promotes the absorption of iron contained in foods of plant origin. It also has antioxidant properties and - according to some research - prevents the onset of cancer and cardiovascular disease. It is also important for wound healing.

Where is Vitamin C found?

Many associate the Vitamin C citrus fruits, especially oranges. A good, fresh orange juice is undoubtedly a healthy habit, but this vitamin is actually found in other foods as well.

Below is the complete list of foods that contain vitamin C:

  • citrus fruits
  • berries
  • Kiwi
  • melosine
  • pepperoni
  • tomatoes
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • rocket salad
  • Brussels sprouts
  • legumes (broad beans and raw peas)

Follow a balanced and varied diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, therefore, ensures a correct supply of vitamin C to the body of adults and children with a whole series of consequent benefits. But be careful when cooking foods which, in some cases, can cause you to lose up to 70% of the vitamins they contain.

Read also: Recipes with citrus fruits for children

The benefits of vitamin C

Vitamin C, as anticipated, brings various benefits to the body. Famous for its antioxidant properties which slow down the aging of cells, for its ability to synthesize the collagen that we find in the skin, bones and joints. Vitamin C also contributes to the correct healing of wounds, promotes the absorption of iron and - an aspect that most interests mothers - is important for the proper functioning of the immune system.

But be careful to believe that taking vitamin C is enough to prevent colds or other diseases. But we will elaborate on this point in a later paragraph. 

Vitamin C deficiency in children

A vitamin C deficiency in the child it can manifest itself in different ways: usually with excessive tiredness, pains in the joints and muscles, a sense of weakness. Having fruit and vegetables at every meal is the best way to regain the right balance and strength.

In cases of severe vitamin C deficiency, the child or adult may experience anemia, bleeding gums, hair weakness, and wound healing difficulties.

If any of these symptoms occur in the child, it is better to consult a pediatrician.

Vitamin C and colds

Therefore it is a false myth that the Does Vitamin C Pass Colds?

Over time, researchers have had to deny what was claimed in the 70s by some US scholars who had hypothesized that a vitamin C supplementation was able to prevent or even cure colds.

Over time, in fact, this theory was denied or, better said, resized. Vitamin C is still recognized today as having the ability to reduce the frequency of cold episodes, but only in some cases: populations exposed to extreme cold, subjects who practice extreme sports and subjects at risk of vitamin C deficiency (such as smokers ).

The specialists, however, also inform on the fact that the regular intake of vitamin C taken for preventive purposes, in the general population can reduce the duration, even if minimally, of the cold. Taking vitamin C after the onset of symptoms certainly doesn't hurt, but it has no direct benefit for the cold or flu

Read also: 10 tips to strengthen the immune defenses of children

When Vitamin C Supplements Are Needed

Many parents wonder if their little ones are getting the right amount of vitamin C and if they need one supplement. Usually, if children are used to eating fruit and vegetables every day, at all meals, this risk is not there. If you have this doubt, however, it is better to consult the pediatrician who, if he deems it necessary, will prescribe a vitamin C supplement to the child based on age and needs.

In fact, in pharmacies it is possible to find supplements for children based on vitamin C in the form of powder, tablets, candies. But before buying one, a consultation with the specialist is necessary. 

Sources for the article: Vitamin C, the guide of the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital. "Vitamin C for Babies: Safety, Efficacy, and Dosage" ( babies) and "Vitamin C: Why is it important?" (

  • Vitamins
  • Dietary Supplements
  • feeding and colds
  • cold
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