Water Soluble Vitamins

Recommendations for dietary intakes of water-soluble vitamins are shown in Table 10. Recommendations vary throughout the world. There are few direct data on infants and children and most recommendations are extrapolated from adult data. Recommendations for children for thiamine and for some other B vitamins are set relative to energy intakes; vitamin B6 recommendations are expressed in terms of protein intake and are the same as for adults. The ratio of vitamins to macronutrients is set lower for infants younger than the age of 1 year, reflecting the relative quantities in breast milk. However, there are very few data on the bioavail-ability and efficiency of utilization of these nutrients in fortified infant formula and in complementary foods. Few countries set recommendations for biotin and pantothenic acid. Recommendations for some other B vitamins are expressed as safe intakes because there is insufficient data on which to base estimates of requirements or recommendations.

Deficiencies of water-soluble vitamins are rare in European and other Westernized countries. Infants are born with small stores of folate and can quickly become depleted if breast milk levels are low. A deficiency of folic acid is the most common cause of megaloblastic anemia in childhood. Infants of vegan mothers also have small stores of vitamin B12 and breast milk levels are likely to be low. Children consuming a macrobiotic or strict vegan diet are at risk of not meeting requirements for vitamin B12 unless they receive a supplement or a fortified infant soya formula.

Vitamin C is particularly important in childhood not only because of its functions as a vitamin but also because it improves the absorption of non-heme iron. Failure to consume foods rich in vitamin C at the same time as vegetable sources of iron plays a part in the etiology of iron deficiency in childhood. Levels of vitamin C in cow's milk are low and infantile scurvy has been reported in infants receiving unmodified cow's milk as a main drink. Infant formulas are fortified with vitamin C. Estimates of requirements are generally extrapolated from adult data. Intakes of vitamin C that were low (but that met current recommendations) have been associated with increased prevalence of asthma in childhood.

Table 10 Recommendations for water-soluble vitamins

Nutrient

Age

UK RNI

Europe PRI

USA RDA

FAO/WHO RDI

Thiamine (mg/day)

0-6 months

0.2

0.3

0.3

6-12 months

0.3

0.3

0.4

0.3

1-3 years

0.5

0.5

0.7

0.5

4-6 years

0.7

0.7

0.9

0.6

7-10 years

0.7

0.8

1.0

0.9

11-14 years

M

0.9

1.0

1.3

1.2

F

0.7

0.9

1.2

1.1

15-18 years

M

1.1

1.1

1.1

1.2

F

0.8

0.9

1.0

1.1

Riboflavin (mg/day)

0-6 months

0.4

0.4

0.5

6-12 months

0.4

0.4

0.5

0.5

1-3 years

0.6

0.8

0.5

0.5

4-6 years

0.8

1.0

0.6

0.6

7-10 years

1.0

1.2

0.6-0.9

0.9

11-14 years

M

1.2

1.4

0.9

1.3

F

1.1

1.2

0.9

1.0

15-18 years

M

1.3

1.6

1.3

1.3

F

1.1

1.3

1.0

1.0

Niacin (NE/day)a

0-6 months

3

5

5.4

6-12 months

4-5

5

6

5.4

1-3 years

8

9

6

6

4-6 years

11

11

8

8

7-10 years

12

13

8-12

12

11-14 years

M

15

15

12

16

F

12

14

12

16

15-18 years

M

18

18

16

16

F

14

14

14

16

Vitamin B6 (mg/day)

0-6 months

0.2

0.3

0.3

6-12 months

0.3-0.4

0.4

0.6

0.6

1-3 years

0.7

0.7

0.5

0.5

4-6 years

0.9

0.9

0.6

0.6

7-10 years

1.0

1.1

0.6-1.0

1.0

11-14 years

M

1.2

1.3

1.0

1.3

F

1.2

1.1

1.0

1.2

15-18 years

M

1.5

1.5

1.3

1.3

F

1.5

1.1

1.2

1.2

Vitamin B12 (mg/day)

0-6 months

0.3

0.3

0.3

6-12 months

0.4

0.5

0.5

0.5

1-3 years

0.5

0.7

0.9

009

4-6 years

0.8

0.9

1.2

1.2

7-10 years

1.0

1.0

1.2-1.8

1.8-2.4

11-14 years

M

1.2

1.3

1.8

2.4

F

1.2

1.2

1.8

2.4

15-18 years

M

1.5

1.4

2.4

2.4

F

1.5

1.4

2.4

2.4

Folate (mg/day)

0-6 months

50

50

50

50

6-12 months

50

50

50

50

1-3 years

70

100

150

100

4-6 years

100

130

200

130

7-10 years

150

150

200-300

150

Continued

Table 10 Continued

Nutrient Age UK RNI Europe PRI USA RDA FAO/WHO RDI

11-14 years

M 200

F 200 15-18 years

M 200

F 200

Vitamin C (mg/day) 0-6 months 25

6-12 months 25

I-3 years 30 4-6 years 30

7-10 years 30

II-14 years

M 35

F 35 15-18 years

M 40

F 40

aNE, nicotinic acid equivalent: 1 mg = 60 mg tryptophan. F, female; M, male.

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