(NaturalNews) There is something to be said for allowing your children copious amounts of free time outdoors to ride their bicycles, engage in sports activities, and play with their friends, especially if you want them to grow up to be healthy, strong, and vibrant members of society. And a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics clearly illustrates this point, having found that many of the most critically ill children are also the ones with the most severe vitamin D deficiencies, which means these young ones are not getting enough natural sunlight exposure to maintain proper health.
For their study, Dr. Kate Madden, M.D., and her colleagues from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston evaluated 511 children, all of whom were severely or critically ill, and who had been admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) for treatment between November 2009 and November 2010. Each of the children was also given a blood test, which was evaluated for concentrations of 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D), a marker that is considered to be the most accurate indicator of vitamin D levels.
Upon evaluation, the team observed that the more ill a child was, the more likely he or she was to have inadequate or deficient levels of 25(OH)D. Similarly, the team noticed that higher levels of vitamin D were associated with fewer cases of illness. Children admitted to a PICU during the summer, for instance, or who had already been taking vitamin D3 supplements were far less likely to be critically ill compared to children admitted during the winter and not taking vitamin D3.
"We found a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in critically ill children, which was associated with higher critical illness severity," wrote the authors in their abstract. "Vitamin D is essential for bone health and for cardiovascular and immune function. In critically ill adults, vitamin D deficiency is common and associated with sepsis and with higher critical illness severity."
What these findings ultimately reveal, of course, is that children need sunlight in order to build immunity and stay healthy. Thanks to all the extensive research that has been conducted in recent years on the prohormone, we know that maintaining optimal blood levels of vitamin D between 50-80 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) is essential for deterring a myriad of chronic health conditions, including influenza, bacterial and viral infections, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disorders, among many others.