Vitamins are organic substances that are essential in minute quantities for the proper growth, maintenance, and functioning of the baby. Vitamins must be obtained from food because the body cannot produce them. The exception is vitamin D, which can be produced by the skin when it is exposed to the sun.
There are four fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and several water-soluble vitamins (the “B” vitamins – niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, and biotin). These vitamins have been added to infant formulas to ensure proper nutrition. Unless otherwise directed by their pediatricians, routine vitamin supplementation is not necessary for healthy full-term infants taking formulas.
High doses of certain vitamins can have adverse effects. For example, high doses of vitamin A can cause headaches, vomiting, liver damage, brain swelling, and bone abnormalities. High doses of vitamin D can lead to high levels of calcium in blood and kidney and heart damage. Therefore, high doses of vitamins should NOT be given to infants and young children without supervision by their pediatricians.
Infants who are low birth weight (LBW) or premature need supplemental vitamins (and iron) and special formulas. These specialized formulas contain more calories per ounce than routine formula, but are manufactured in a special way so as to be easily absorbed by the immature digestive system. There are several brands of this type of formula (for example, Similac Special Care and Similac LBW (Ross Pharmaceuticals)). Part of preparing an infant for discharge from the neonatal ICU involves establishing proper nutrition, which must be continued by the parents at home. Individual recommendations will be made by the infant’s neonatologist.
- Vitamin therapy
The use of vitamins to prevent or cure disease. Many physicians are now recognizing the beneficial uses of anti-oxidant and other vitamins for a wide variety of conditions, often as a complementary therapy to accompany medication or other treatments. One variant on this theme, megavitamin therapy, is still rather controversial. Always consult your doctor before […]
An essential factor in the formation of blood clotting factors. Deficiency can lead to abnormal bleeding.
A condition in which the skin turns white due to the loss of pigment from the melanocytes, cells that produce the pigment melanin that gives the skin color. In vitiligo, the melanocytes are destroyed, leaving depigmented patches of skin. The hair that grows in areas affected by vitiligo may also turn white. The skin is […]
Removal of the gel (called the vitreous) from within the eyeball. This may be done because it has blood and scar tissue in it that blocks sight. The eye surgeon then replaces the clouded gel with a clear fluid.
A clear, jelly-like substance that fills the middle of the eye. Also called the vitreous humor, “humor” in medicine referring to a fluid (or semifluid) substance.