Chances Are, Your Child Isn’t Getting Enough Vitamin D

strongbones_1New Information!  The American Academy of Pediatrics has just come out with a report recommending that all children — from babies to teens — get 400 IU of vitamin D every day.  The old FDA recommendation was 200 IU daily.  Without enough vitamin D, the body can’t use calcium as it should to maintain healthy bones and teeth.

So while you may be loading dairy and other sources of calcium into your kids, without vitamin D their little bodies can’t use it.  Too little calcium or vitamin D puts kids at risk for rickets, a bone softening disease that impairs growth and muscle strength.

Exclusively breastfed babies are at the greatest risk of rickets because — although breastfeeding is the ideal form of nourishment for infants — breast milk doesn’t have high enough concentrations of vitamin D, says the AAP.

Benefits of increased levels of vitamin D may also reach into adulthood.  Recent research points to an important role in the prevention of osteoporosis, autoimmune disease, and the two biggest killers, cancer and heart disease.  So what are good sources of vitamin D for kids and adults?

Sunlight: Vitamin D is produced in our bodies by sun exposure.  Just make sure you’re using adequate UV protection and limiting total time spent in direct sun.  Direct sun exposure is NOT safe for babies under 6 months.  They need …

Vitamin D drops: Ask your doctor for a prescription.  Particularly for babies who are exclusively breast fed.

Eggs and fortified dairy products: plus lots of dairy substitutes, like soy milk and rice milk, have vitamin D added.  Check the nutritional facts label and shoot for a goal of 400 IU daily.

Fish and seafood: High in vitamin D, but beware of mercury and toxin contamination.  For information on what’s safe for kids see our post, Fish and Tips.

For a great summary of vitamin D and its benefits, take a look at this article at kidshealth.org.

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.


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The Mama ButtonThe information provided by MamasOnCall is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, but is for information purposes only. You assume full responsibility for the health and well-being of your family. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychiatric condition.