How to be sure your children are getting all their nutrients (Part 1: Vitamin A)

How to be sure your children are getting all their nutrients (Part 1: Vitamin A)

It gets hard for the parent of a picky eater to figure out how to get their child on a well balanced diet. After you’ve eventually exhausted yourself in the numerous futile attempts to get your pride and joy to eat the salad first, finish their broccoli, or just try the peas once, maybe you’ll end up on a site (perhaps like this one?) with a few suggestions on how to be sure your child gets all nutrients they need.


We’ve scoured the deepest darkest corners of the internet, from one majestic island of information to another, unearthing the treasure that is our following list of vitamins and supplements to keep your young ones as strong as the superheroes they wish to be.


Today's child health topic is Vitamin A


Vitamin A is used to boost immune functionality, vision, reproduction, and cellular communication. Vitamin A is a crucial component of enhancing vision and supporting cellular growth, acting as a pivotal role player in the regular formation of the body's major organs.

There are two forms of vitamin A present in the human diet: preformed vitamin A (retinol and its esterified form, retinol ester) found in foods from animal sources, including dairy products, fish, and meat (especially liver). The most prevalent provitamin A carotenoid is beta-carotene; other provitamin A carotenoids are alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin.

Premature Infants

Premature infants do not have adequate liver stores of vitamin A at birth and their plasma's retinol percentages frequently stay low throughout their first year. Preterm infants deficient in vitamin A have an increased risk of eye, chronic lung, and gastrointestinal diseases.

Infants and Young Children in Developing Countries

In women with vitamin A deficiency, breast milk volume and vitamin A content are not sufficient enough to maintain the appropriate vitamin A amounts in infants of mothers who solely breastfeed. In developing countries, reports of vitamin A deficiency rise just after young children stop breastfeeding. The most common and readily recognized symptom of vitamin A deficiency in infants and children is xerophthalmia; an abnormal dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea of the eye, with inflammation and ridge formation, typically associated with vitamin A deficiency.



Most dietary provitamin A comes from leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, tomato products, fruits, and some vegetable oils. The top food sources of vitamin A in the U.S. diet include dairy products, liver, fish, and fortified cereals; the top sources of provitamin A include carrots, broccoli, cantaloupe, and squash.


Table 2: Vitamin A Content of Selected Foods
Food Micrograms (mcg)
RAE per serving
Beef liver, pan fried, 3 ounces 6,582 731
Sweet potato, baked in skin, 1 whole 1,403 156
Spinach, frozen, boiled, ½ cup 573 64
Pumpkin pie, commercially prepared, 1 piece 488 54
Carrots, raw, ½ cup 459 51
Ice cream, French vanilla, soft serve, 1 cup 278 31
Cheese, ricotta, part skim, 1 cup 263 29
Herring, Atlantic, pickled, 3 ounces 219 24
Milk, fat free or skim, with added vitamin A and vitamin D, 1 cup 149 17
Cantaloupe, raw, ½ cup 135 15
Peppers, sweet, red, raw, ½ cup 117 13
Mangos, raw, 1 whole 112 12
Breakfast cereals, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin A, 1 serving 90 10
Egg, hard boiled, 1 large 75 8
Black-eyed peas (cowpeas), boiled, 1 cup 66 7
Apricots, dried, sulfured, 10 halves 63 7
Broccoli, boiled, ½ cup 60 7
Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 3 ounces 59 7
Tomato juice, canned, ¾ cup 42 5
Yogurt, plain, low fat, 1 cup 32 4
Tuna, light, canned in oil, drained solids, 3 ounces 20 2
Baked beans, canned, plain or vegetarian, 1 cup 13 1
Summer squash, all varieties, boiled, ½ cup 10 1
Chicken, breast meat and skin, roasted, ½ breast 5 1
Pistachio nuts, dry roasted, 1 ounce 4 0



*DV = Daily Value. FDA developed DVs to help consumers compare the nutrient contents of foods and dietary supplements within the context of a total diet. The DV for vitamin A is 900 mcg RAE for adults and children age 4 years and older [8], where 1 mcg RAE = 1 mcg retinol, 2 mcg beta-carotene from supplements, 12 mcg beta-carotene from foods, 24 mcg alpha-carotene, or 24 mcg beta-cryptoxanthin. FDA does not require food labels to list vitamin A content unless vitamin A has been added to the food. Foods providing 20% or more of the DV are considered to be high sources of a nutrient, but foods providing lower percentages of the DV also contribute to a healthful diet.


Vitamin A not only increases eye development, it's also been proven to help prevent measles in developing countries. However, ingesting too many vitamins can be harmful, even toxic. This is especially true of vitamins A, D, & K. There have been studies of vitamin A toxicity and of vitamin D toxicity in children who overindulge in supplements and vitamins, so it’s best to keep them out of reach of your child. If you fear your child has eaten too much of a vitamin, contact the poison control center or a healthcare professional immediately.




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