The Importance of Vitamin A for Children
Vitamin A, is an essential nutrient your child needs. It helps her develop good vision and bone growth, and guards against infections. Vitamin A is also important in cell tissue growth, especially for her skin, hair and nails.
Recommended daily intake
As your child grows, she will need more Vitamin A. The recommended intake values are as follows:
- Age one to three: 300mcg per day
- Age four to eight: 400mcg per day
Do note that the values stated above are not strictly exact daily values, but the recommended average spread over a week. It is okay for some days to have more vitamin A intake than others.
Sources of vitamin A
Vitamin A is found in many foods, and particularly abundant in colourful fruits and vegetables. Carrot, sweet potato, spinach and squash contain high values. Kale, cantaloupe, red bell pepper, apricots and mangoes are also good vitamin A sources. Broccoli, frozen peas, milk and eggs are other common foods that contain this nutrient. Different brands and products offer different values, so check the relevant nutrition label and estimate accordingly.
Potential vitamin A side effects
Too much of a good thing can be bad. In particular, vitamin A from animal sources is the ‘active form’. Overdose of active form vitamin A can result in nausea, vomiting, giddiness, lack of muscle coordination, and headache. In the long run, it can even cause osteoporosis, liver problems, and nervous system dysfunction. The upper limit, as recommended by Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, is 600mcg for kids of age one to three, and 900mcg for age four to eight.
That said, it is near impossible to overdose on carotenoids â the type of vitamin A found in vegetables and fruits. This is because the body converts only what it needs into the active form when needed. Fruits and vegetables are generally safe in that regard.
In conclusion, be mindful of what you feed your child. Always check with your healthcare professional or child nutritionist when you are in doubt.
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