Importance of Vitamin D3 in Children
Feb 10, 2022
Vitamin D3 has been known mostly as the Bone Vitamin for its role in helping to form strong bones and healthy teeth. Interestingly there are more benefits of Vitamin D3 in the growing body and it is very important for children and toddlers to have a good level of Vitamin D3 in their bodies.
Vitamin D has been also linked to improving the immunity system, preventing heart disease, and diabetes prevention, and overall good skin health.
How does Vitamin D3 Work?
Vitamin D3 is made in the skin in response to exposure to sunlight, the process is extremely fast and it takes just a few minutes of direct sun exposure to make an adequate amount of Vitamin D3. The sun's energy turns a chemical in your skin into vitamin D3, which is carried to your liver and then your kidneys to transform into active vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 helps the body absorb minerals like calcium and builds strong teeth and bones.
However, because of concerns over sun exposure, many children do not receive an adequate amount of Vitamin D3 through sunlight.
Source: Times of India
Vitamin D3 Recommendations:
The commonly recommended adequate intake of vitamin D3 for children is 400 international units (IU), equal to 10 micrograms (mcg), per day and 600 IU to 800 IU per day is recommended for adults.
Is my child getting enough Vitamin D3?
It is said that human milk contains a very low amount of Vitamin D3, and a cup of cow’s milk has approximately 100 IU of Vitamin D, so a child would need to drink 4 to 6 full cups a day to receive their recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D3.
It is very important to ensure that your little one is getting enough Vitamin D through sunlight or supplementation.
For children over the age of one, many are not receiving the 400 IU per day. It is important to discuss your child’s Vitamin D3 intake with a doctor or pediatrician to help you determine which supplementation is appropriate.
What happens in vitamin D3 deficiency?
Vitamin D is required to regulate cell growth and support neuromuscular function in the body. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes calcium absorption in the body and increases bone density. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties that help to heal swelling and joint pain. Vitamin D plays an important role in boosting metabolism and immunity. This essential vitamin deficiency can lead to a variety of illnesses such as inflammation, fatigue, weakness, bone pain, and even sleep disorders.
As per the Pan-Indian study, 70 to 90 percent of Indians have Vitamin D deficiency, which can adversely affect the skeletal development of infants and children, and bone health in adults.
Sources of Vitamin D3
Old and one of the most effective sources of Vitamin D is sunlight. But your kid's body isn't able to make vitamin D3 when covered with clothing or sunscreen to block the sun's rays. Other obstacles to vitamin D3 production from sun exposure include smog, clouds, dark skin, and geographic location.
It is hard to estimate how much time one should spend under sunlight to make the recommended amount of Vitamin D3, but some searches say spending 5 to 30 minutes at least a week should do it.
Experts warn about the harmful side effects of UV radiation from sunlight on the body and it's hard to judge whether you can get enough vitamin D3 from the sun without increasing your risk of side effects from it. So consider finding other methods to get the vitamin D3 your children need.
Vitamin D-enriched food
- Fatty Fish: Fishes are one of the best sources of Vitamin D. Oily fish such as tuna, salmon, etc. are among the best sources of Vitamin D. It is said that 100 grams of mackerel fish can provide up to 1,000 International Units of Vitamin D. You can include fish in your child’s meal for Vitamin D intake.
- Cheese: You will be delighted to know that cheese has a good amount of natural Vitamin D contents in it as compared to milk it is richer in Vitamin D because it is processed, and you can include cheese-based recipes in your kid’s diet. Cheese is also a good source of calcium which is another important element for the body.
- Eggs: Eggs are also a source of Vitamin D for kids. Around 100 grams of boiled eggs contain 87 International Units of Vitamin D.
- Milk: Milk is naturally rich in Vitamin D because of the liver of the animal stores this Vitamin. Soya milk is also a good source of Vitamin D. It is recommended to drink at least one glass of milk every day.
- Mushroom: Mushrooms are very nutritional as it contains many vitamins and minerals. These are tasty and can be easily incorporated into your kid’s diet. Mushrooms are rich in vitamin D and potassium.
Alone or combined with other nutrients Vitamin D is available as a dietary supplement. Vitamin D supplements are generally safe to take, but follow the pediatrician or doctor's advice and read the label thoroughly before use.
Even though vitamin D isn`t found in a lot of foods, you can see that there are some tasty options available. Standing in the sun for a few minutes can have tremendous effects on health, keep these in mind, especially on winter days when your child takes an adequate amount of vitamin D.