Vitamin D for Kids
Vitamin D has become a very hot topic these days, as new research continues to reveal how important this vitamin is on so many levels. Various studies have shown that a vitamin D deficiency may be linked to many cancers, heart disease, MS, diabetes, and the list goes on and on! Rickets in children is a well known condition stemming from a vitamin D deficiency. Furthermore, Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and consequently affects bone health.
Sunlight stimulates Vitamin D production in the skin. However, due to the very important use of sunscreen, as well as our northern climate, our children’s (and our own) sun exposure is not sufficient to sustain optimal health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants, children, and adolescents receive 400 IU of Vitamin D daily. Children who are exclusively breastfeeding and toddlers who do not drink enough milk are advised to take Vitamin D supplements. Older children as well as teens that don’t consume at least 32 oz of milk or other fortified foods are also advised to take supplemental vitamin D. Baby formulas are fortified so children drinking the recommended amount of formula for their age group do not require supplements.
Please check with your pediatrician regarding whether supplementation (and what brand/form) is required for your child. D Drops may be a great option as a child requires only one drop to satisfy requirements. Other supplements are available in capsules and tablets for older children.
In addition to milk, there are a number of other sources of vitamin D:
Some brands of yogurt and Orange juice are fortified (check labels)
Oily fish such as tuna, mackerel, sardines (note that 3 oz of salmon have roughly 300 IU vit D)
Shrimp (3 oz have 150 IU)
Scrambled, hard boiled, or poached eggs (25 IU each)
Vitamin D is important for adults and children alike. Make sure your family is receiving adequate levels by consulting with your doctor as soon as possible!