We can't stress enough the importance of Vitamin D. Children and adults alike, need Vitamin D for a variety of reasons.
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the development and growth of bone structures. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and develop strong teeth and bones.
Additionally, reliable reports also state that Vitamin D helps fight diseases; it reduces your risk of multiple sclerosis and decreases your chances of developing heart disease.
Studies also report that Vitamin D is essential for fighting the flu.
There´s no denying the obvious benefits and importance of Vitamin D. Hence, children in their first year of life must receive a minimum of 400 IUs of Vitamin D per day.
Unfortunately, breast milk alone doesn't provide an adequate amount of Vitamin D. Therefore, as a parent, you must use other methods to ensure that your child receives Vitamin D.
You should also ensure that your child receives sunlight on his/her skin; the sunlight helps his/her body make Vitamin D.
Your child gets about 80% of his/her Vitamin D this way.
So, what is the recommended intake of Vitamin D for your children? Well, an infant, up to 12 months of age, needs 10 Mcg of Vitamin D on a daily basis. And, children older than 1 year need 15 Mcg of Vitamin D.
Of course, as your child grows older, it will become easier to feed him/her foods that are rich in Vitamin D. Some of the foods that naturally contain Vitamin D include food such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring, liver, mushrooms, and egg yolks.
There are foods that also have Vitamin D incorporated into them and they are low-fat dairy products, cereals, and margarine etc. All infant formula contains Vitamin D.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
What happens when babies don't get enough Vitamin D?
One of the most severe signs and symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency in children is undoubtedly rickets. Rickets is a medical condition that causes soft and fragile bones. The condition is more common in children with darker skin.
Rickets may cause a kid's scalp to feel soft to the touch. And, the poor or incomplete scalp formation can increase an infant´s risk of sustaining injuries to the head.
Children with rickets can also develop unusual bone deformities; rickets can cause a child´s legs to be unusually bowed outwards or cause his/her spine to be crooked and misaligned. Rickets in infants can be really dangerous.
Tooth development delay
If your infant does not receive an adequate dosage of Vitamin D, his/her teething schedule can be largely affected. A deficiency can result in delayed development of the teeth.
As we stated earlier, Vitamin D is essential for the development and growth of bone structures. Hence, if your child doesn't receive enough Vitamin D, it is likely that the growth of her bones will be impacted. If you don´t want your child to experience severely stunted growth, you should ensure that he/she gets an adequate amount of Vitamin D.
Of course, it is completely normal and common for babies to suffer from cold and flu during the winter months. But, with a deficiency of Vitamin D, they will be prone to suffering from those conditions for a longer period.
A lack of Vitamin D can also put your child at risk for serious respiratory problems.
If you are unable to identify what is causing your baby to be fussy and irritated, a deficiency of Vitamin D could be part of the problem.
Irritability is one of the less obvious symptoms that are associated with a lack of Vitamin D, but it is a symptom nonetheless.
The bone pain symptoms may cause the infant to become frequently fussy or irritable.
What Causes Low Vitamin D in Babies?
A fetal form of vitamin D in the blood is called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. It’s made when your body metabolizes calcitriol, a form of vitamin D found in the fatty acids you get from food. For this reason, your baby is considered to be fatty-acid-mineral (FAM) deficient (FAMD) if they do not get enough 25-hydroxyvitamin D during pregnancy. This deficiency may be due to various risk factors including a lack of vitamin D in the diet and exposure to sunshine. In fact, your baby’s optimal blood levels of vitamin D are based on their time of birth.
Infants born in the summer months, such as early summer or the summer between January and February, need far more vitamin D than those born in the spring, sun exposure or late winter. So, if you’re concerned about your baby’s vitamin D levels, talk to your health care provider. They will be able to determine what vitamin D deficiency your baby may have and how to treat it.
Children, who are at the most risk of Vitamin D deficiency?
Children who don’t expose their skin to sunlight are heavily at risk of suffering from symptoms caused by the deficiency of Vitamin D.
Children might also be at risk of deficiency if they have been breastfed for a lengthy period and have a mother whose Vitamin D level is low.
Children who suffer from conditions that affect how the body controls Vitamin D levels can also be exposed to plenty of risks.
Reversing Vitamin D Deficiency
If you are not certain that your child is receiving an adequate dose of Vitamin D, you should get him/her checked immediately. Treatment is usually done as per the requirement.
Depending on your child´s situation, the doctor may recommend a High dose of Vitamin D therapy. Also popularly known as Stoss Therapy, high-dose Vitamin D therapy helps in preventing bone problems.
The treatment for Vitamin D can be either done orally or through an intro-muscular process.
Injected Vitamin D usually lasts for around 6 months and it is especially effective for children who hate consuming oral medicine.
It is also possible for the doctor to recommend calcium and phosphorus vitamin d supplementation or other vitamin D supplements. You must follow the treatment guidelines properly to reverse Vitamin D deficiency.