More Vitamins Please
In the long ago days of the youth of my children our pediatrician rather naturally had us offer liquid vitamin drops daily from infancy onward. Back then it was common to find 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D in these drops, along with 5000 IU of vitamin A and other good things to promote health.
Seems as if the circle has come home to those standards of yesterday.
The only problem I see is the reliance on food products that usually use the D2 form of this fat soluable vitamin rather than the effective form D3. Children of color may not adequately absorb enough through skin exposure to sunlight.
Pediatricians say they double vitamin D dose.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has doubled its recommendation for a daily dose of vitamin D in children in the hopes of preventing rickets and reaping other health benefits, the group said on Monday. “We are doubling the recommended amount of vitamin D children need each day because evidence has shown this could have life-long health benefits,” said Dr. Frank Greer, of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which released the new guideline recommendations at a meeting in Boston. “Supplementation is important because most children will not get enough vitamin D through diet alone,” Greer said in a statement.
The new guidelines from the nation’s leading group of pediatricians now call for children to receive 400 international units of vitamin D per day, beginning in the first few days of life. Children who do not get enough vitamin D are at risk for rickets, a bone-softening disease that result in stunted growth and skeletal deformities if not corrected while the child is young. Babies who are exclusively breast-fed are at particular risk. “Breast-feeding is the best source of nutrition for infants. However, because of vitamin D deficiencies in the maternal diet, which affect the vitamin D in a mother’s milk, it is important that breast-fed infants receive supplements of vitamin D,” Dr. Carol Wagner of the physician’s group, who helped write the report, said in a statement.
Vitamin D can prevent and treat rickets, but dietary sources of vitamin D are fairly limited. Vitamin D-fortified milk is the most common source, but fortified cereals and oily fish such as tuna, mackerel and sardines also contain vitamin D. Rickets remains rare in United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. But there were reports in 2000 and 2001 of rickets among breast-fed infants.
Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, but exposure to sunlight can also raise the risk of skin cancer. Air pollution, sunscreen and clothing all limit the amount of vitamin D the body can synthesize from sunlight. The group suggests non-breast-fed infants and older children who are drinking less than one quart (liter) of vitamin D-fortified formula or milk daily should receive a vitamin D supplement.
Adequate vitamin D throughout childhood may reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life. In adults, new evidence suggests that vitamin D plays a role in the immune system and may help prevent infections, autoimmune diseases, cancer and diabetes.