Many people today, don’t realise that vitamin d deficiency in children is extremely common and on the increase. Most parents think their children are getting enough vitamin D by drinking milk, playing outside and eating sensibly.
Although both milk and certain foods contain vitamin D for sure, they contain adequate amounts which are not suitable for strong bones and prevention of many diseases.
Why Vitamin D Is So Important For Kids.
In the past 5-10 years many research studies indicate an underlying problem with common ailments which is down to deficiency in vitamin D. Because of lifestyle variations and over usage of sunscreen, the majority of children show vital signs of deficiency and the problem is getting worse.
The main importance of vitamin D not only in children but also in adults is to regulate calcium and phosphorus in our bodies. This is essential for increasing muscle and bones. Vitamin D deficiency in children increases their chances of falling sick as low levels makes them more vulnerable to catching colds, flus and weakening their immune system.
Shortage of vitamin D in children can lead to a disease called rickets which is a bone softening condition which causes the bones to bow or bend. This is most likely to occur in the early years of a child’s life and infants who are exclusively breastfed and who do not receive a daily vitamin D supplement.
Vitamin D Deficiency In Children Symptoms
There are many symptoms which indicate children may be suffering from low vitamin D levels which include:
- Breathing problems-This is caused by weak chest muscles which in turn makes the ribcage soft. Kids are also more likely to have infections as a result of low d levels.
- Children will constantly complain of cramping pains especially in the legs. Kids with harsh vitamin d deficiency may have soft leg bones and their legs are curved ie bow-legged. This is a sign of rickets.
- Vitamin d deficiency in children will affect their growth and are hesitant to start walking. They may also be late in teething and appear to be irritable as a consequence of low d levels in their bodies.
- Toddlers and babies with harsh deficiency levels can get cramps, seizures and experience breathing difficulties. On rare occasions deficiency in vitamin D in children can cause weakness of the heart muscles.
Get Vitamin D From The Sun, The Best Source Possible.
Getting vitamin d from the sun is the best way to avoid vitamin d deficiency in children and adults alike. Vitamin D is made in our bodies as a result of UV rays contacting our skin. It only takes a little while approx, 15-20 minutes to produce your daily dose of vitamin d. However most parents put on sun blockers on their kids which stop the UV-B rays from producing the vitamin.
The best way to do this is let your child play outside in the sun for 10-15 minutes and then put on the sun cream unless your child burns very easily. This way they will produce sufficient vitamin d while they do not get sun burnt.
Vitamin D deficiency in children is more likely to occur with darker skin.This is because dark skin blocks UV rays and it’s difficult to produce vitamin d naturally. Children living in countries where there is little sun will have to get theirs from vitamin d foods and taking a vitamin d supplementation.
What Foods Have Vitamin D?
Cod-liver oil contains a very high dosage of vitamin D but the taste will put off many children (yuks). Different varieties of fish have a good source of vitamin d including salmon,mackerel,herring and tuna. Fortified breakfast cereals contain a reasonable amount of essential vitamins, minerals including vit d.
Dairy products are also good at containing vitamin d as well as calcium .Some examples include milk, cheese and fortified yogurts. Apart from vitamin d, eggs also contain B12 and are an excellent source of protein.Other foods which have vitamin d are mushrooms, ham, sausages, tofu etc.
These are just some foods high in vitamin d which can be added to meals and will help vitamin d deficiency in children. Many parents are aware their kids are fussy eaters and will not eat some or most of the suggested foods. Therefore taking a vitamin d supplement may provide adequate levels to keep them healthy.
Take Supplements To Avoid Vitamin D Deficiency In Children
In a study carried in 2008 the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) shockingly discovered infants who were breastfed, formula-fed that 75% did not meet the current 2008 requirement of 400 IU(International Units) per day. This clearly shows that there is a major vitamin d deficiency in children not only in USA but throughout the world.
Vitamin D supplements for kids come in many forms including chewable vitamins for kids over three years who can chew hard foods. Alternatively there are also liquid preparations and drops for breast-fed or bottle fed children that contain the recommended daily allowance of 400IU.
Advice from a doctor should be taken before you start thinking about giving vitamin d supplements to your child. With regards to D supplements and medicines in general they should be kept out of reach from children in case of overdose.
There is mounting evidence that vitamin D is not just for strong bones but may play a vital role in the prevention of chronic and cardiovascular diseases later on in life. Taking vitamin D supplements will greatly improve vitamin D deficiency in children. You must start supplementing NOW when they are young to reap the benefits.