Infant nutrition

The role of vitamins in children's nutrition

The role of vitamins in children's nutrition

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One of the most frequently heard words when it comes to linking good health to children's nutrition is the vitamins, but sometimes it is just that, a mere word, to which few of us can add a concrete definition. Do we know what and What are vitamins for? What are their functions really and in which cases should they be taken? What role do vitamins in children's diet?

The vitamins They are molecules that the body needs to grow, develop and, in general, to function normally. The body needs the contribution of 13 vitamins (A, group B, which includes thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid, C, D, E and K), since each one performs a specific function in the body.

Vitamins are found, along with minerals and / or trace elements, within the group that we call micronutrients, since they are generally needed in small amounts. They are present in food and it is the way in which the body normally obtains them. Although they also exist in the body, however, some routes to synthesize vitamins, such as vitamins D and K, are more complicated.

There are two types of vitamins, fat-soluble and water-soluble. As a general rule, an excess of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) is toxic, since the body has greater difficulties in eliminating them. In particular, vitamin A is especially toxic when over-administered in infancy, so It is not advisable to give the child vitamin supplements without pediatric supervision. For its part, the excess of water-soluble vitamins is easily eliminated through the urine.

On the other hand, and although vitamins, as well as minerals, do not provide calories, their deficiency can make you fat. The scientific reason behind this weight gain is very simple: the body, which is very wise, is in need of a vitamin and demands that intake be increased (which encourages weight gain), in order to have more possibilities of get the deficient vitamin.

One of the main vitamin deficiency problems It is not weight gain, but individual health problems due to the specific role each vitamin plays.

The vitamin D deficiencyFor example, it may mean that the child stops growing or reaches a size smaller than they should. Rickets, a relatively rare disease in which the bones become soft and bend, can also develop. In addition, by helping the body to properly absorb calcium, its deficiency can lead to weak bones that break easily.

On the other hand, the shortage of vitamins B12, C and folic acid is related to the appearance of megaloblastic anemia, a disease in which healthy red blood cells are scarce, that is, those that circulate in the blood have a large size and an oval shape and are not able to transport oxygen to the cells - this anemia does not it is the same as that caused by iron deficiency. In particular, when the child is fed a strictly vegan diet, there is a high risk of megaloblastic anemia, since vitamin B12 is only found in foods of animal origin.

Since We advise you to pay close attention to infant feeding and, if you have any doubts, go to your pediatrician.

You can read more articles similar to The role of vitamins in children's nutrition, in the Infant Nutrition On-Site category.

Video: Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Nutrition The Thousand Day Window of Opportunity (July 2022).


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