Vitamin D interestingly is actually a hormone which plays a crucial role in the growth and development of children. It comes in two forms D2 and D3 (cholecalciferol). Its main functions are helping the body absorb calcium, which is essential for building strong bones and teeth, regulating cell growth, immune system function, and inflammation regulation. A severe deficiency in vitamin D can lead to a condition called rickets, which causes softening and weakening of the bones.
Why we recommend Vitamin D
We recommend Vitamin D for all our little patients that attend day care. This is because recent studies have suggested that vitamin D may have a positive impact on the immune system, reducing the risk of respiratory infections and asthma in children. A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that children with higher levels of vitamin D had a lower risk of asthma and respiratory infections. An analysis of 8 studies showed Vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of upper respiratory tract infections in 1-15 year olds. A random controlled trial in Japanese school children found a reduction in rates of seasonal influenza A. Another study found that supplementing with 1000iu of vitamin D daily significantly reduced the number of children suffering from acute otitis media (ear infections).
Did you know…
Additionally, vitamin D has also been linked to cognitive development in children. A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that children with higher levels of vitamin D scored better on cognitive tests and had a lower risk of developmental delays.
It is important for children to get enough vitamin D, as their bodies are still developing and need all the necessary nutrients to grow and function properly. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants and children should receive a daily supplement of 400IU of vitamin D, starting in the first few days of life.
The most efficient way for the body to produce vitamin D is from sunlight. However it is UVB rays that are the most effective which is when the sun is most perpendicular to the earth’s surface between 10am and 3 pm. This tends to correlate when people are the most vigilant with their slip, slop, slap messaging.
Another natural way to increase vitamin D is with foods. Foods that are high in vitamin D include fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, cod liver oil) and some mushrooms.
In summary, vitamin D plays a crucial role in the growth and development of children. Adequate vitamin D intake can help to build strong bones and teeth, boost the immune system, and improve cognitive development. It is recommended that all children receive a daily maintenance supplement of 1000IU of vitamin D.
- Holick, M.F. (2007) Vitamin D deficiency. New England Journal of Medicine, 357(3), 266-281.
- Searing, D.A., et al. (2016) Vitamin D, race, and respiratory infections in children. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 137(2), 446-453.
- Janssens, W., et al. (2015) Vitamin D and cognitive development in children. Journal of Pediatrics, 166(5), 1480-1485.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. (2011) Vitamin D. Pediatrics, 128(5), e1135-e1142.
- Mailhot, G, White, J.H, Nutrients 2020, 12, 1233