A Superpower Vitamin D!
If vitamins were the celebrities this one would certainly make the top of the list.
We all have heard about how important it is for a child's development, you will always find it on every decent baby care checklist and even though this is not the first time someone tells you about it we believe we want give you everything you need to know about it in one short article.
What is vitamin D?
Despite its name, Vitamin D is more of a hormone than a vitamin. When the body receives Vitamin D from sources like sunlight, supplements, and food, it turns it into a hormone that is in many ways crucial for the overall health and wellbeing.
There are two forms of Vitamin D:
This is made by plants, with mushrooms as the best source.
This one is almost exclusively made by the human body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, it’s considered much more effective than its D2 counterpart, that’s also the version being supplemented to infants.
Why is vitamin D important?
Consequences of deficiency
Kids and babies need Vitamin D for bone growth and development. It should be made available right from when they’re still in the womb. Serious Vitamin D deficiency in kids can cause delayed motor development, muscle weakness, fractures, and even rickets.
Is vitamin D only needed by children?
No, mummy needs it too!
In fact it’s one of the most important vitamins for your body and its appropriate levels have profound impact on your health, especially during breastfeeding.
It helps in building strong bones
Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating calcium and maintaining phosphorus levels in the body, promoting healthy bones as a result. Vitamin D deficiency in adults can lead to osteomalacia, a condition that causes the bones to soften and muscles to weaken. Lack of Vitamin D can also cause osteoporosis, a debilitating bone disease that occurs due to bone loss.
It can help your heart health
Some studies have shown that there is a link between Vitamin D deficiency and heart disease. A recent study showed that over 70% of the almost 1,500 patients treated for narrowing arteries had a Vitamin D deficiency, and there was a 32% higher likelihood of heart disease in the patients with the lowest Vitamin D levels.
It keeps your muscles strong
Muscle weakness is evident in those Vitamin D deficiencies, a risk that significantly increases when you’re advanced in age. Several studies have conclusively found that taking Vitamin D supplements significantly improves muscle performance, consequently reducing the number of injuries that result from falls.
It can help to keep your gums & teeth healthy
A Finnish study recently found that there is a direct link between low Vitamin D levels and gum disease Similar study in Norway showed link with teeth disease.
It can help boost brain function
Vitamin D can improve brain functioning and it’s absolutely crucial for brain functions. Two recent studies suggested that low vitamin D levels could make people more susceptible to dementia and sclerosis.
And we thought mummy brain was bad enough!
How to dose vitamin D to children?
It is important to buy supplements suitable for babies and containing vitamin D3 only.
According to HSE breastfed children need to receive 5 micrograms of vitamin D3 as a supplement every day from birth to 12 months if they are taking less than 300mls or 10 fluid oz (ounces) of infant formula a day
Infants taking more than 300mls or 10 fluid oz (ounces) of infant formula a day should not take additional vitamin D3 as the formula has already increased levels of it by law.
Should you supplement vitamin D3 to your child if you were taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy and breast feeding?
The only situation in which you should not supplement your child vitamin D3 is if the baby is getting enough of it from the formula.
Vitamin D for children aged 1 to 4:
Older children will only need to get vitamin D only through the dark & gloomy part of the year. Easy way to remember :
between Halloween (October 31st) and St Patrick's Day (March 17th)
3 ways to get Vitamin D:
1. Sunlight exposure
During the sunny months of the year, your body might make produce it in excess. Your body will then store the extra and use it on those gloomy, winter days where you don’t get much sun.
2. Food sources
Vitamin D is found in foods such as salmon, sardines, tuna, egg yolks, fortified foods, and mushrooms.
3. Vitamin D supplements
As there’s no shortage of the bad weather here, your best shot for most of the year would be supplements, always check the vitamin content in the supplement
(10 micrograms a day will be enough for most adults)
Vitamin D is important for normal body functioning and overall health.
And if you happen to live in Ireland instead of Spain it is very important to keep and eye for it and maybe sometimes go for a healthy portion of fish and chips.