The most common vitamin children consume when young is vitamin B. Consisting of several types of B vitamins, this vitamin complexion is mainly given to them to promote growth and strengthen their nerves and muscles. But did you know that except for vitamin B deficiency, children and even adults can experience vitamin D deficiency?! Yup, that’s right, and what’s most important is discovering and treating it on time. In the end, vitamin D is essential for having a strong immune system and healthy bones, and in case of deficiency, a lot of complications can happen.
The Importance of Vitamin D for Children
Besides being associated with stronger bones and a stronger immune system, vitamin D, in general, is also associated with decreasing the risk of premature birth and the prevention of many diseases. But how exactly vitamin D can aid all of these things?!
Stronger Immune System
Lots of studies have been conducted and almost all of them show the strong bond between children, vitamin D and their immune system’s reaction to illnesses. When the body has the needed dose of vitamin D, its immune system can fight any kind of illness. This mainly applies to respiratory infections which are quite common among children. Although in summer there is plenty of sun and there might be no need of taking an additional dose of vitamin D, during the colder time of the year when there’s little sun, vitamin D supplement for kids is essential for strengthening their immune system.
As we all know by now, calcium is quite important for children’s bone health. But what you might didn’t know is that the body can only absorb the bone-strengthening mineral when there’s vitamin D in the body. And since children build bone throughout their childhood and adolescence, getting enough calcium and vitamin D is essential during this period of their life. In case children have severe vitamin D deficiency (although rare), they can develop a condition called rickets where the bones become weak and soft.
What Is the Recommended Dose for Children?
Despite the abundance of sunshine in Australia, still, there is a chance for children and adults to have vitamin D deficiency. If assuming that children have had no or minimal exposure to the sun, the recommended daily adequate intake (AI) of vitamin D would be 5 micrograms or 200 IU (international units) for children. In other countries where the sunshine is not as present as in Australia, the recommended dose of vitamin D supplement for kids is 400 IU per day for children under 12 months, and 600 IU per day for children older than 1 year and adolescents. For easier consumption, vitamin D supplements can come in the form of tablets and drops where drops are mainly used among children.
The Best Sources of Vitamin D
One of the simplest, easiest and healthiest ways for children and adults to obtain the needed dose of vitamin D on a daily basis is through the sun. And, since this is not an option throughout the whole year, the most convenient way to achieve this is with high-quality supplements.
Food is another source of vitamin D, but since only a few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D, it’s almost impossible for children to consume it on a daily basis. For instance, eggs contain a small amount of vitamin D, mainly in the yolk. But, in order, for children to receive the needed daily dose, they’ll have to eat about 10 yolks a day which is basically impossible.
Salmon is another source of vitamin D, and it’s said that a serving of 85grams of it can contain all the vitamin D children need in a day. Mushrooms are also among the types of food that naturally contain vitamin D and some of them are even treated with UV light in order to boost their vitamin content.
How Long Does It Take Vitamin D Supplements to Work?
Usually, it takes about three to four months of continual daily use of vitamin D supplements. The same goes for both adults and children regardless of their age.
How to Know If Your Child Has a Vitamin D Deficiency?
The easiest way to find out if your child’s vitamin D levels are okay is to check them with a blood test. And if now during the pandemic you’re not feeling like going to the hospital, you can easily check the vitamin D levels at home with a simple finger-prick vitamin D test kit. Once you get the results, you can call your doctor and check them out. If the results are close to the target level, your doctor might advise you to increase the levels by spending more time in the sun (wearing sunscreen is a must) and by eating foods that are high in vitamin D. In case the levels are too low, he might advise you to give your child vitamin D supplements for better and faster results.