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Vitamins Important Part of Child's Diet

What Are Vitamins?

Vitamins are complex "organic" (ones that contain carbon molecules) substances that the body cannot make on its own but that it requires in small amounts for a number of important bodily functions.

Scientists have identified thirteen vitamins:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folic Acid (Folacin)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Biotin
  • Pantothenic Acid

Fat-soluble and water-soluble

Vitamins are divided into two groups: fat-soluble and water-soluble:

Fat-soluble vitamins

  • Include A, D, E, and K
  • Stored in body fat, principally in the liver

  • Can be toxic at high doses. Because the body cannot get rid of excess amounts, too much vitamins A and D can have cause serious adverse side effects.
    • Too much vitamin A can result in: loss of appetite, headaches, irritability, liver damage, bone pain, and neurological problems, including brain damage
    • While vitamin A is only found in animals, dark orange-yellow and green leafy vegetables contain carotenes (e.g., beta-carotene) that the body can use to make vitamin A. Unlike vitamin A, carotene is fairly safe when consumed in large amounts because the body stores excess carotenes (which can make the skin look yellow-orange) rather than converting them to vitamin A.
    • Too much vitamin D can cause weight loss, vomiting, irritability, destructive deposits of excess calcium in soft tissues (like the kidneys and lungs) and potentially fatal kidney failure)

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