The shocking results of a recent study conducted across the U.S. revealed 7 out of 10 children have dangerously low levels of vitamin D leaving them at risk of heart disease, rickets, and weak bones.
The study analyzed data gathered in the 2001 to 2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of a nationally representative sample of 6,275 children aged 1 to 21.
Kids who have low vitamin D levels are at serious risk of heart disease in adulthood, find Johns Hopkins researcher Jared P. Reis, PhD, and colleagues. Reis' team analyzed data from 3,577 12- to 19-year-olds in the NHANES database.
They found that even after controlling for all kinds of factors that affect heart disease risk—obesity, exercise levels, race/ethnicity, age, gender, and socioeconomic status—low vitamin D put kids at risk of heart disease as adults.
A sufficient amount of vitamin D is difficult to obtain from dietary sources. It is possible to obtain vitamin D from direct sun exposure—without sunscreen (sunscreens block UV-B rays they in turn prevent the body from converting vitamin D). However, since the generous amount of sunshine necessary to assure sufficient vitamin D exposure is potentially harmful and because children often spend too much time indoors watching television, playing video games, or on the computer, it is advisable for all children to assure vitamin D levels with supplements, not sunshine.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated their guidelines in 2008 for vitamin D intake in infants, children, and teens to prevent rickets and vitamin D deficiency. Their latest guidelines increased the recommended minimum daily intake from 200 IUs to 400 IUs per day of vitamin D for all infants, children, and adolescents beginning in the first few days of life.
I suggest children require even more vitamin D then what is available through breast milk, formula and most multivitamins. My Osteo-Sun capsules are a great source of vitamin D and can easily be twisted opened and the tasteless powder mixed into children's food or drink. Each capsule provides 300 IUs of D3.
I recommend the following daily supplementation for children to ensure adequate intake of vitamin D.
Children 0 to 6 months:
- Liquid vitamin D supplement for infant, with 4-6 capsules of Osteo-Sun daily for pregnant or breastfeeding mother as well
Children 6 to 24 months:
- 1 capsule of Osteo-Sun opened and mixed in formula or food
Children 24 months to 6 years:
- 2 capsules of Osteo-Sun opened and mixed in food or drink
6 years and up:
- 3 capsules of Osteo-Sun opened and mixed in food or taken by mouth
And to learn more about how to protect your children's health, read my book Disease-Proof Your Child:
- An essential guide for raising children with healthy minds and bodies.
- The how-to's for reducing occurrences of ear infections, allergies, and asthma.
- Delicious, easy to prepare, kid-tested healthy recipes designed to please even the fussiest eaters
- An arsenal against developing cancer, autoimmune disorders, and cardiovascular disease.
Kumar, J. Pediatrics, September 2009; vol 124, published online ahead of print. Reis, J.P. Pediatrics, September 2009; vol 124, published online ahead of print. News release, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Image credit: Zixii