The importance of Vitamin D

In this article, we outline the importance and benefits of vitamin D, how much Vitamin D children need, and where you can find it in your diet or supplements.

What Is Vitamin D And Why Is It So Important For Your Children During Growth Stage?

The human body produces vitamin D in response to exposure to the sun. You can boost the vitamin by adding with certain foods and supplements like probiotics [link to What Is A Probiotic And How Would It Affect Children's General Health?] to promote gut health and maintain a healthy immune system [link to Probiotics That Help Children Achieve A Healthy And Well-Balanced Immune System]. Introducing these supplements to your children's diet will help promote healthy growth in your child and here’s how:

Vitamin D is vital for many reasons. That includes maintaining healthy teeth and bones and protecting against various diseases and conditions such as type 1 diabetes.

Contrary to its name, vitamin D is a prohormone or precursor of a hormone, not a vitamin.

Traditionally, vitamins as we understand them, are nutrients that the human body cannot create, making it necessary for humans to add them to their diet. However, the body can produce vitamin D.

Vitamin D has multiple roles in the body. It mainly assists in:

  • supporting lung function and cardiovascular health
  • regulating insulin levels and supporting diabetes management
  • supporting nervous, brain and immune system health [insert link to Facts On How To Maintain A Healthy Immune System]
  • promoting healthy teeth and bones
  • influencing the expression of genes involved in cancer development

According to a Journal of Translation Medicine published, Vitamin D and growth hormone in children: a review of the current scientific knowledge, in 2019 human growth is a complex mechanism that depends on hormonal, nutritional, environmental and genetic factors. The primary hormone concerned with change at each phase of development is growth hormone (GH) and its mediator, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Whereas, vitamin D is involved in the processes of bone development and mineralization through the regulation of phosphorus and calcium metabolism.

The benefits of the vitamin, however, cannot be disputed. To learn more about how vitamin D can help, keep reading:

How Does Vitamin D Help?

  1. Lessened Risk Of Flu

A review conducted in 2018 of existing research suggested that certain studies revealed that vitamin D had a shielding effect against the influenza virus.

  1. Healthy Bones

In children, vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, which leads to a severely bowlegged stature due to the softening of the bones.

This vitamin plays a substantial role in the maintenance of phosphorus regulation of calcium levels in the blood.

  1. Healthy Infants

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) suggests that there is a connection between low vitamin D and a higher risk of allergic sensitization.

Vitamin D deficiency has links to high blood pressure in children. A 2018 study discovered a connection between low vitamin D levels and stiffness in the arterial walls of adolescents.

Foods rich in Vitamin D

How Much Vitamin D Do Children Need And Where Will They Get Them?

There is some controversy surrounding the amount of vitamin D required for healthy functioning. Recent research reveals that more vitamin D is needed than once thought.

IUs are a standard type of measurement for vitamins and drugs. IUs help specialists determine the deficiency levels, toxicity, and recommended dose for each person.

The recommended IUs for vitamin D in children are:

  • Infants 0–12 months: 400 IU (10 mcg).
  • Children 1–18 years: 600 IU (15 mcg).

Mindful sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes, two to three times a week, admits most people to produce suitable amounts of the vitamin. The catch is, however, that vitamin D breaks down rather quickly, leading to stores running low, particularly in winter months.

Abundant food sources of vitamin D include:

  • fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna
  • shrimp
  • beef liver
  • cod liver oil
  • mushrooms
  • egg yolks
  • cheese
  • fortified cereals and juices
  • fortified milk and yoghurt

If You Are Considering Supplements, What Form Of Vitamin D Should I Look For?

Advice for infants and young children:

  • Formula-fed babies should not be given a vitamin D supplement until they're having less than 500ml of infant formula each day - the baby formula is fortified with vitamin D.
  • Breastfed babies from birth to one year of age should receive a daily supplement containing 8.5-10 micrograms of vitamin D.
  • Children aged one to four years old should have a daily supplement containing ten micrograms of vitamin D.
  • Most supermarkets and pharmacies stock Vitamin D supplements or vitamin drops that contain vitamin D (for under 5s).

Advice for children over four years old:

  • In the colder months, vitamin D needs to be in your child's diet as the sun is not potent enough for the body to produce vitamin D.
  • It can be challenging to get enough vitamin D from food alone, making daily supplements necessary. The supplement should contain ten micrograms of the vitamin during these months.

Vitamin D supplements come in different forms. For instance, vitamin D3 oral drops are perfect for making sure that your infant gets the vitamin in their diet. Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb phosphorus and calcium. Having the right amount of these vitamins and nutrients is essential for building and keeping strong bones making this a recommended supplement to promote healthy bone growth in your children.

If you would like to learn more about your choices, get in touch with Fulljoy today.