Vitamin D is necessary for the health of your bones and muscles. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphate from meals, which are essential for strong and healthy bones. Vitamin D is found naturally in only a few foods (certain types of fish), therefore getting enough vitamin D from food alone is difficult.
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Vitamin D is essential for bone health and development, especially in children who are still growing. In reality, a baby's vitamin D demand begins during the embryonic stage and continues throughout infancy and adulthood.
Sunlight is a fantastic source of vitamin D, but most youngsters don't get enough of it since they spend so much of their time indoors. Furthermore, poor dietary habits fail to meet their nutritional needs, resulting in vitamin D deficiency. So, here's why vitamin D is so important, and how to make sure your kids get enough of it.
Importance of Vitamin D In Children
Vitamin D is essential for bone growth and development in children. It helps the body absorb calcium and builds strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D also acts as a hormone and plays a key role in many important bodily functions including regulation of the immune system, cell growth, and insulin production. Vitamin D is required for bone growth and development in children. In the same way, newborns developing in the womb do. Calcium absorption is aided by vitamin D. Rickets, delayed motor development, muscle weakness, aches and pains, and fractures are all symptoms of severe vitamin D insufficiency in children.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, a disease that can result in bone deformity and fractures. It also keeps children from reaching their genetically programmed height and peak bone mass. Children might be at higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency:
Keep their entire body covered
They spend most of their time indoors and do not receive much or any sunlight.
Have a condition that affects how the body regulates vitamin D levels, such as liver illness, kidney disease, or disorders that make it difficult to absorb food
Take drugs that affect Vitamin D levels
Have darker skin
How Much Vitamin D Does a Child Need?
Vitamin D is measured in international units (IU). Babies younger than 1 year need 400 IU per day; while kids older than 1 year need 600 IU a day. In certain cases, kids might need extra amounts of vitamin D which include:
Medical problems such as obesity, celiac disease, multiple fractures, bone pain, or cystic fibroids.
After a bone surgery for recovery
Use of medicines for seizures, which block the way the body uses vitamin D.
Sources of Vitamin D
Vitamin D can be acquired from three main sources. They include Sunlight, diet, and supplements.
Vitamin D From Sunlight: Vitamin D is called “sunshine vitamin” as sunlight is the best source of vitamin D. kids need sunlight on their skin so that their body can make vitamin D. In this way, one can get about 80% of their vitamin D requirement. But a child’s body will not be able to make vitamin D when covered with clothing or sunscreen to block the rays of the sun at the time of exposure to sunlight. Though it’s hard to estimate how much time one should spend in the sun to get enough amount of vitamin D, it is suggested to spend at least 5 to 30 minutes in sunlight between 10 A.M to 3 P.M twice a week.
Vitamin D From Food: Since most children spend their time indoors, it’s hard for their bodies to make enough vitamin D from sunlight. So, children should be given foods that are good sources of vitamin D. Foods that contain vitamin D naturally include salmon, liver, mushrooms, and egg yolks. To some foods, vitamin D is added such as low-fat dairy products, cereals, and margarine. And all infant formulas contain vitamin D.
Vitamin D Supplements: Kids who have mild deficiencies of vitamin D are suggested to get it from sunlight and diet. But if kids have severe vitamin D deficiency are prescribed vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D supplement can be a large, single dose or might be in smaller doses for several weeks or months.
How Can Parents Help Their Children Get Enough Vitamin D?
Since vitamin D is crucial for kids in all the developmental stages of their lives, parents should ensure their children are getting enough vitamin D. So here are some ways in which parents can make sure their children get enough vitamin D.
Encourage kids to play outdoor sports. This can help their body to make vitamin D from sunlight.
Since salmon is one of the best sources of vitamin D, make a meal for kids with fatty fish on regular basis.
There are vitamin D fortified eggs. So get the right kind of eggs and prepare egg-based recipes that kids could enjoy.
Offer vitamin D fortified milk to kids. This is the best way to give the kids the nutrients they require.
If kids are not getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and diet, giving them a daily vitamin D supplement on the doctor’s advice is a suitable alternative.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Bone pain or sensitivity, dental deformities, decreased growth, increased bone fractures, muscle cramps, low stature, and skeletal deformities such as rickets are all indications of vitamin D insufficiency in children and adults.
Babies are at risk of rickets, a disorder that affects the way bones grow and develop if their vitamin D levels are insufficient. Give your baby a daily vitamin D supplement to ensure they get enough (a dose of drops every day).
Vitamin D is required by all children from the time they are born. Each day, children under the age of 12 months require 400 IU of vitamin D, children aged 12 to 24 months require 600 IU of vitamin D.
Some of the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include: