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Originally published April 15 2009

How to Ensure Proper Vitamin D in Children

by Sheryl Walters

(NaturalNews) Rickets seems like it should be a disease of the past. However, more and more children are being found to be deficient in Vitamin D. Twelve percent of babies and children are Vitamin D deficient and another 28% are at risk of a deficiency according to a study for the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Proper supplementation and appropriate sun exposure can ensure an adequate level of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is necessary to build strong bones by helping the body absorb and effectively use calcium. Without proper levels of Vitamin D, bones can become soft, brittle, or deformed such as in rickets, osteomalacia, and osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency in babies results in delayed development. It also plays a role in enhancing the immune system and preventing autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Vitamin D is found in very few foods so is often added to foods such as milk. In addition the skin can naturally produce Vitamin D when exposed to UVB radiation in sunlight. When there is not enough sunlight exposure to synthesize Vitamin D it is essential to get it from the diet.

Breastfed babies are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency because breastmilk is naturally low in Vitamin D. Many pediatricians recommend a Vitamin D supplement for this reason when a baby is exclusively breastfed. Other risk factors for deficiency include overuse of sunscreen and eating a diet low in Vitamin D or Vitamin D fortified foods.

A study done at the Children's Hospital of Boston looked at Vitamin D levels in children between eight months and twenty-four months old. It was found that at least 40% of these children were not getting enough Vitamin D and that children who were deficient showed radiographic evidence of low bone density.

Fifteen minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen) daily is enough to ensure adequate levels of Vitamin D. Naturally occurring Vitamin D can be found in cod liver oil, herring, and salmon. Fortified food such as milk, cheese, and breakfast cereals can help intake levels. Breastfed babies and others at risk of low Vitamin D levels should supplement. It is difficult to take too much Vitamin D but it can be toxic if very high doses are taken (50 times the Recommended Daily Allowance).

Maintaining proper levels of Vitamin D in children is important to maintain bone health and support their immune systems. Speak with your child's doctor about supplementation for breastfed babies, proper diet for older children, and the importance of sun exposure.


Merck Manual (

Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute, Micronutrient Information Center (

Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk, (

About the author

Sheryl is a kinesiologist, nutritionist and holistic practitioner.
Her website provides the latest research on preventing disease, looking naturally gorgeous, and feeling emotionally and physically fabulous. You can also find some of the most powerful super foods on the planet including raw chocolate, purple corn, and many others.

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