Vitamin D For Kids: Why Do They Need It And How to Get It?

Most people have heard that it is important to maintain proper levels of vitamin D. However, what many don’t realize is how difficult this can be, especially during the winter months. As a matter of fact, as much as 77% of Americans are vitamin D deficient, and 6% are severely deficient! Why is Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for kids, and how can we make sure that we get what we need?

Why We Need Vitamin D?

There is a good reason why we have heard so much about vitamin D. It plays a part in the growth and maintenance of body systems, and can even help to fight against some pretty serious health problems. Here are a few of the benefits of Vitamin D:

Because it helps the body to absorb calcium, it contributes to bone mineralization and growth and can help to prevent the onset of osteoporosis

  • It contributes to muscle strength and coordination.
  • It promotes cardiovascular health.
  • It aids the immune system, which fights illness and infection.
  • It may help to prevent certain cancers.

There is no question that vitamin D deficiency should not be taken lightly. However, many people may not be aware of the challenges of maintaining proper levels.

Why Use Vitamin D For Newborns?

Newborns with the deficit of Vitamin D are prone to such a disease as rickets. It can manifest early or in adult life. The disease is hard to cure, but it can be prevented successfully.

When else is vitamin D necessary for a child? This supplement is required in the following cases:

  • The child is sleeping restlessly.
  • The baby is anxious, crying for no reason, excited at any time of the day.
  • The baby is sweating excessively. On the skin of the child, rashes are noticeable.
  • The belly of the newborn is constantly swollen.
  • The baby’s hair is falling out.
  • The infant has a poor appetite.

Also, doctors recommend Vitamin D for kids who were born prematurely – it also helps to avoid developmental issues.

The Sources of Vitamin D For Kids

Foods

Most essential vitamins and minerals are present in many of the foods that we eat, but vitamin D is unique because it is difficult, if not impossible, to take in enough through diet alone. Some dietary sources of vitamin D include:

  • cod liver oil;
  • egg yolk;
  • oily fish;
  • beef liver;
  • fortified milk or cereal.

There are two forms of vitamin D – D3 and D2, the effect of which is approximately the same. Vitamin D3 is found in sufficient quantities in a few foods, including fish oil (400 – 1000 IU in a teaspoon), oily fish (mackerel, salmon, sardine, tuna – content 250 – 300 IU / 100 g), egg yolk (20 IU in one chicken yolk), beef liver. Vitamin D2 can be obtained from mushrooms (100 IU / 100 g of fresh mushrooms), yeast, and some plants. Breast milk contains only 15 – 50 IU of vitamin D per 1 liter, which cannot satisfy the needs of the baby.

Food that contains vitamin D
Source: rodovich.org

There are also artificially enriched vitamin D products – infant formula (400 IU / 1000 ml), milk, yogurt, butter, cheese, bread, cereals. However, foods alone do not contain enough vitamin D to maintain it at the optimal level.

Sun rays

The primary source of this vitamin D for kids and adults is internal. Our bodies are able to produce Vitamin D in response to exposure to sunlight (specifically UVB rays). The more time we spend in the sun, and the more skin that we leave exposed, the more vitamin D we are able to produce. For many of us, this presents a problem during the winter. This is partly because we tend to spend much more time inside once it gets cold, and when we do venture outside we leave as little skin exposed as possible.

The second reason for the lack of vitamin D production in the winter has to do with the sun rays. In the northern half of the United States, the sun’s rays enter the atmosphere at too sharp an angle, and UVB rays are blocked for most of the day. This means that, for several months of the year, even sitting outside for hours wearing nothing but a bikini won’t result in adequate vitamin D production.

The situation is not hopeless. Thankfully, there are supplements available to help offset these seasonal challenges. The Vitamin D Council recommends taking a daily supplement of vitamin D3. Most people can do this with no problem, but if you have concerns, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist.

 

F.A.Q on Vitamin D For Kids

Does the production of vitamin D in the skin decrease when sunscreen is applied?

Yes, sunscreen with an SPF of 8 and above decreases the production of vitamin D in the skin by 95%.

Can the body accumulate vitamin D reserves in advance?

Vitamin D refers to fat-soluble vitamins. “Extra” vitamin D is stored in adipose tissue, can be stored for several months and consumed as needed. Therefore, some pediatricians prescribe vitamin D once a week, once a month, or even once every 6 months.

Vitamin D can also be formed as a result of exposure to the sun. For example, people who work in the summer in direct sunlight produce such an amount of vitamin D, which is enough for several winter months.

Why is vitamin D deficiency dangerous?

As a result of vitamin D deficiency, bone deformities (rickets) develop, and the risk of fractures increases. Children with vitamin D deficiency are usually more irritable, develop slower, may start walking later than their peers, and their appetite is usually reduced. These manifestations are accompanied by a delay in teething and pathology of tooth enamel.

On the topic: Natural Teething Remedies for Babies

How can I determine if a child has vitamin D deficiency?

In addition to symptoms showing a deficiency of vitamin D, it is possible to pass a medical analysis for the content of calcidiol – one of the forms of vitamin D. Normally, the level of calcidiol should be from 50 to 150 nmol / l.

Which dose of vitamin D is enough to prevent a deficiency?

A child who eats baby formula should be prescribed 400 IU of vitamin D if he receives less than 30 oz of the mixture per day. All children in their first year of life who are breast-fed and mixed-fed should be prescribed 400 IU from the first days of life. These recommendations also apply to premature babies. Children over 1 year and adults should get 600 IU of vitamin D daily.

Daily norm of vitamin D for kids and adults
Daily norms of Vitamin D intake. As you see, standards vary. Source: vitamindwiki.com/

Is it necessary to stop taking vitamin D in the summer?

It depends on the climate. Say, if you live in the northern part of the US, and the amount of sunny days is less than 130 per year, you should consider continuing to give Vitamin D for kids. Consult your physician to get a competent answer to this question.

Is an overdose of vitamin D possible if you stay in the sun for a long time?

If a child is exposed to the sun for a long time, the excess vitamin D3 formed in the skin begins to break down, so an overdose of vitamin D cannot happen this way.

On the topic: Hot Weather Safety Tips For Kids: How To Survive Through Summer?

Why is an overdose of vitamin D dangerous?

Toxic reactions from vitamin D intake are extremely rare. It has been proven that a single dose of 300,000 IU of vitamin D (for example, 2 bottles of liquid Vitamin D) is safe. Typically, toxic reactions occur in children with rare congenital metabolic disorders of vitamin D and in people suffering from sarcoidosis. Symptoms of an overdose of vitamin D include nausea, vomiting, thirst, and impaired renal function.

 

Cover image: Pexels

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About nikamarvelmaker

I'm a loving mom with a strong passion for creative writing and wordplay. Freelancing since 2013, I focus on translation and crypto copywriting (Bitcoins can be fun, too). My jam-packed daily schedule includes parenting, homemaking, work and blogging on MarvelMama, and I enjoy every second of my ever-busy life.
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