The importance of Vitamin E for kids

Kids need Vitamin E to build their immunity. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage. Discover more about this all-important vitamin and which foods are the best sources of it.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it is stored in the body and excreted much more slowly than water-soluble vitamins. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that limits the production of free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules released into the body as a bi-product of normal metabolism and can damage cells. As a nutrient that supports immune function, DNA repair, and other essential metabolic processes, vitamin E is a key component of nutrition to support the immune system.

How much Vitamin E does your child need

It is recommended that from ages 1 to 3 years, your child has 6mg of vitamin E per day and from ages 4 to 8 years they have 7 mg per day. As vitamin E is stored in the body, they don’t have to receive the recommended daily amount of vitamin E every day. Instead, you should aim for them to have that amount as an average over the course of a few days or a week.

Good sources of Vitamin E

Vitamin E rich foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Below are listed some of the best food sources of vitamin E (please remember that whole nuts and seeds are not suitable for children under five years):

  • 30g roasted almonds: 7mg
  • 30g roasted sunflower seeds: 6mg
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter: 4mg
  • 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter: 2mg
  • 30g roasted peanuts: 2mg
  • 1 teaspoon sunflower oil: 1.8mg
  • 1/2 medium kiwi fruit: 1mg
  • 1/4 cup raw mango: 1mg
  • 1/2 cup cooked frozen spinach: 0.8mg
  • 1 teaspoon corn oil: 0.6mg
  • 1/4 cup cooked frozen broccoli: 0 .6mg
  • 1 teaspoon soybean oil: 0.4mg

Children may eat more or less than the serving quantity of each food shown, depending on their age and appetite, so you can estimate the vitamin E content accordingly.

Vitamin E deficiency

Vitamin E deficiency is very rare and almost never caused by a poor diet. It is usually only seen in very low birth weight babies and in individuals with rare disorders of fat metabolism. When it is seen, signs of vitamin E deficiency include neuromuscular problems and impairment of the immune response. It can also cause anaemia as the lack of protective anti-oxidant to mitigate free radicals can lead to damage to red blood cells. Vitamin E is available in supplements from health shops and pharmacies, but you should never give your child any such preparations of vitamins or minerals without specific advice from your doctor.

 Can your child get too much Vitamin E?

In very large doses, vitamin E can act as an anticoagulant, which means that it interferes with the normal clotting of the blood and increases the risk of bleeding problems. It is recommended that the maximum amount of vitamin E that a child aged 2-3 years should take should be no more than 200mg per day, with a 4-8 year old not exceeding more than 300mg per day.

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