Vitamin D in children

vitamin d in children

 

In this article, we are going to explain what vitamin D is, the best ways to ingest it and optimize its synthesis, the deficit of vitamin D in children, and the risks of suffering from a deficit of this nutrient. 

 

What is Vitamin D?

It is an essential nutrient that contributes to the absorption of calcium by our body. It also plays a role in heart health, as well as in fighting certain infections. 

Therefore, we should keep in mind that vitamin D in children is especially important since childhood is the stage of teeth and bone formation. 

 

How do you synthesize vitamin D?

Vitamin D can reach our body through various pathways: 

 

  • Through the process of synthesis that is produced by direct exposure to sunlight. This is the main source. 

 

  • By eating certain foods rich in this nutrient. It is a secondary source of vitamin D compared to the previous one. 

 

Therefore, it is important to sunbathe daily with the proper precautions. Avoiding the central hours of the day, using protection, and avoiding prolonged exposure are some of the recommendations that are interesting to take into account.  Of course, this applies to babies over 6 months old since before that age their exposure to the sun is inadvisable. 

In any case, either because of the current pace of life or because of the latitude in which one lives, on many occasions, it is not easy to comply with it. That is why it is important to include on the diet blue fish such as sardines, anchovies or salmon, milk, or eggs, which provide a good amount of vitamin D. 

 

How much vitamin D does a child need?

The recommended amount of daily vitamin D varies with age. In Europe, the reference intake for infants is 7 µg (280 IU) per day and 10 µg (400 IU) for young children (1-3 years). 

 

Consequences of a lack of vitamin D in children

Lack of Vitamin D can lead to various health problems. The most common are rickets and osteoporosis, but it can also lead to seizures due to low blood calcium or difficulty breathing. Even, the WHO  states its deficit is related to increased chances of developing type 1 diabetes at an early age. 

 

Vitamin D supplements, yes or no?

As for the vitamin supplements, the EPA recommends that children should receive vitamin D supplements at least until 12 months at a dose of 400 IU/day. From then on, most pediatricians affirm that following the dietetic recommendations is enough in normal conditions. Only if your doctor expressly prescribes it, for whatever reason, you should give it to your child. 

We hope this article has helped you understand the importance of vitamin D in children.