Various Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiency in Children
To fulfill children's nutrition properly, you not only have to look at the needs of macronutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber, they are important. But don't forget that children's micronutrient intake must also be met properly, one of which is vitamins.
Actually, how important is its function so that the child should not be lacking in vitamin intake? It is also important to note the various symptoms of vitamin deficiency in children.
What are the Benefits of Vitamins for Child Growth and Development?
Vitamins are a group of nutrients that are still needed by the body even though the amount is not too much. The reason is, that vitamins function to support the growth and development of the child's body as a whole.
Starting from strengthening the body's immune system, supporting various cell and organ functions, to supporting brain development. On the other hand, when children lack vitamin intake, there will certainly be obstacles in the process of growth and development, it can even interfere with body functions
Therefore, it is fitting to provide a variety of foods to children every day to meet their vitamin needs. You also must always be aware of vitamin deficiency in children.
Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiency in Children
There are 6 types of vitamins with different adequacy rates for each child's age group. Includes vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. Based on the nature of their solubility, all types of vitamins are divided into 2 groups, namely:
As the name implies, fat-soluble vitamins are types of vitamins that are easily soluble or fused with fat. Interestingly, the benefits provided by fat-soluble vitamins tend to be better when eaten together with fat-rich foods.
Various types of fat-soluble vitamins, namely vitamins A, D, E, and K. Below are the symptoms of these vitamin deficiencies in children, such:
1. Vitamin A
The need for vitamin A in each child's age group:
- 0-6 months: 375 micrograms (mcg)
- Age 7-11 months: 400 mcg
- Ages 1-3 years: 400 mcg
- Ages 4-6 years: 375 mcg
- Ages 7-9 years: 500 mcg
- Ages 10-18 years: boys and girls 600 mcg
Overall, vitamin A is important for maintaining eye health in children. In addition, meeting the needs of children's vitamin A also helps prevent infection and maintain healthy skin, nervous system, brain, bones, and teeth.
That is why, deficiency in vitamin A intake in children is at risk of causing vision problems, such as night blindness. If vitamin A deficiency in children continues, it can lead to a decrease in corneal function and cause blindness.
Launching from the WHO, the risk of infectious diseases such as diarrhea and measles will also increase. Various symptoms when vitamin A intake in children is lacking, including:
- Dry skin and eyes
- Difficulty seeing at night and in dark places
- Problems with the respiratory tract
- Slow wound healing time
Food sources of vitamin A
Before vitamin A deficiency in children gets worse, you should increase the intake of food sources of vitamin A every day.
You can provide animal sources such as eggs, milk, cheese, margarine, fish oil, beef liver, and fish. While vegetable sources can be obtained from carrots, tomatoes, basil leaves, spinach, papaya leaves, and others.
2. Vitamin D
The need for vitamin D in each child's age group:
- 0-6 months: 5 mcg
- Age 7-11 months: 5 mcg
- Ages 1-3 years: 15 mcg
- Ages 4-6 years: 15 mcg
- Ages 7-9 years: 15 mcg
- Ages 10-18 years: boys and girls 15 mcg
Vitamin D is needed to support various body functions in children. Starting from maintaining healthy bones and teeth, strengthening the immune system, and maintaining a healthy heart and lungs. Unfortunately, not infrequently children's vitamin D intake is lacking, resulting in the emergence of various health problems.
Children are prone to rickets, which makes the bones soft and easy to bend. Leg bones will also usually change the shape of the letter O or X. Not only that, a lack of vitamin D intake can cause muscle spasms and tooth decay.
Vitamin D cannot be produced by the body itself but must be obtained from daily food and sunlight. After exposure to sunlight, then the process of formation of vitamin D in the body is active.
Vitamin D deficiency in children is characterized by the appearance of several symptoms such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle spasm
- The bones of the skull and legs are soft, even looking curved
- Pain and weakness in the leg muscles
- Slow teething
- Lost or damaged hair
- Vulnerable to respiratory infections
Food sources of vitamin D
Children who lack vitamin D can be treated by increasing the daily intake of vitamin D from food. Food sources that are high in vitamin D include egg yolks, margarine, fish oil, milk, cheese, salmon, corn oil, mushrooms, tuna, and others.
Apart from food, also meet the needs of children who lack vitamin D with frequent exposure to sunlight. For example, sunbathing in the morning and evening. Or invite your little one to play outside the house in the morning, when he is old enough.
3. Vitamin E
The need for vitamin E in each age group of children:
- 0-6 months: 4 milligrams (mg)
- Age 7-11 months: 5 mg
- Age 1-3 years: 6 mg
- Age 4-6 years: 7 mg
- Age 7-9 years: 7 mg
- Ages 10-12 years: boys and girls 11 mcg
- Ages 13-15 years: boys 12 mcg and girls 15 mcg
- Ages 16-18 years: boys and girls 15 mcg
In sufficient quantities, vitamin E intake acts as an antioxidant that will help protect body cells from free radical attack. Free radicals are compounds that can cause dangerous diseases, such as cancer.
On the other hand, vitamin E deficiency in children can cause neurological and retinal disorders. The incidence of children lacking vitamin E is actually rare. This condition will only appear when the child's body does not get vitamin E intake for a long time.
Vitamin E deficiency in children is characterized by the appearance of symptoms, namely:
- Muscle weakness
- Vision problems
- Weakened immune system
Food sources of vitamin E
In order to meet the needs and prevent vitamin E deficiency in children, you should serve foods rich in vitamin E, for example, almonds, vegetable oil, tomatoes, broccoli, olive oil, potatoes, spinach, corn, and soybeans.
4. Vitamin K
The need for vitamin K in each age group of children:
- 0-6 months: 5 mcg
- 7-11 months: 10 mcg
- Ages 1-3 years: 15 mcg
- Ages 4-6 years: 20 mcg
- Ages 7-9 years: 25 mcg
- Ages 10-12 years: boys and girls 35 mcg
- Ages 13-18 years: boys and girls 55 mcg
Vitamin K is needed to help the blood clotting process as well as stop bleeding when injured. Compared to adults, vitamin K deficiency is more common in children, especially infants.
This is because the need for vitamin K in adults can be easily obtained from daily food sources, or from the body's formation process.
While in infants, the supply of vitamin K they have is very low. As a result, the body cannot perform its function optimally to clot blood, which then increases the risk of bleeding.
But in some cases, children can also be deficient in vitamin K due to taking drugs or having certain medical conditions. Here are some symptoms of vitamin K deficiency in children:
- Easy bruising skin
- Blood clots appear under the nails
- Stools are dark black in color, or even contain blood
If experienced by infants, vitamin K deficiency can cause symptoms:
- Bleeding in the area of the umbilical cord removed
- Bleeding in the skin, nose, digestive tract, or other parts
- Sudden bleeding in the brain, which is potentially life-threatening
- Skin color is getting paler day by day
- The whites of the eyes turn yellow after a few days
Food sources of vitamin K
There are various food sources that can help meet the vitamin K needs of children. Examples include spinach, broccoli, celery, carrots, apples, avocados, bananas, kiwis, and oranges.
Vitamin K is also found in animal sources, such as chicken, liver, and beef. However, to help restore the condition, doctors will usually provide vitamin K (phytonadione) supplements to overcome the deficiency.
This supplement can be given orally (drink) or by injection if the child is difficulty taking oral supplements. The dose of this supplement usually depends on the age and health condition of the child.
That’s an article with information about various signs and symptoms of vitamin deficiency in children. Hope this helps!