Low vitamin D levels in children can lead to serious problems and bone deformities. We will tell you more about the importance of vitamin D for growth and development. Vitamin D is important for many reasons. It is naturally synthesized in the skin, during the sun exposure.
Vitamin D deficiency occurs when vitamin D levels get too low. This can happen if:
● You live in a county with cold weather conditions. If you don’t spend enough time in the sun, your vitamin D levels are likely to get very low. Vitamin D deficiency is actually very common in cold countries.
● You are over 60. In older people, more time is needed for conversion of vitamin D to its active form.
● You are dark-skinned. Unlike white-skinned people, population with dark skin must spend more time in the sun, because dark skin simply needs more time to synthesize vitamin D (melanin in dark skin blocks the sunrays).
● You do not eat foods that contain vitamin D. These foods include eggs, dairy products, fish oil, and meat. Fortified cereals contain certain amounts of vitamin D. Vegetarians usually consume such products, but these cannot fulfill your daily requirements.
● You are pregnant. The body of a pregnant woman has increased demands for minerals and vitamins.
● You are breastfeeding. A breast-feeding mother needs more vitamins, so she can deliver them to the baby through breast milk. Mother’s milk is extremely important for the baby, but vitamin D levels in the human milk are not sufficient. That is why fortified formula is strongly recommended, in addition to breast milk.
Vitamin D levels in children can be low for several reasons.
Infants who are exclusively breast-fed are at risk of getting vitamin D deficiency. Breastfeeding is important for both mother and her baby. Human milk contains important nutrients. However, the quantities of vitamin D contained in this milk are simply not satisfactory. That is why formula milk should be added to the baby’s diet. We are not suggesting that formula can ever replace mother’s milk; these two should be both included in the baby’s diet.
If you are pregnant or you are breast-feeding, talk to your doctor about the best way to get vitamin D. Consume healthy foods and spend time in the sun. Your doctor will give you vitamin supplements to use during pregnancy and after delivery. You will also be given vitamins for your baby.
The levels of vitamin D in children can be checked through blood tests. If a baby’s vitamin D levels are low, this can lead to serious bone-related problems.
The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in children include:
● Soft skull
● Tooth delay (in infants)
● Soft bones
● Fragile bones
● Low energy levels
● Dental deformities (in toddlers)
● General weakness
● Lack of sleep
● Growth disturbances
Vitamin D deficiency must be treated as soon as possible. If not treated in time, this condition can lead to rickets. In children who suffer from asthma or anemia, vitamin D deficiency can make these problems much worse.
Talk to your doctor about vitamin D supplements for your baby. Regular sun exposure is also very important. However, you must not take your baby out when the sun is too strong! Consult the doctor about formula milk and the proper way to combine it with your breast milk.
If you notice any of the symptoms we mentioned, take your baby to the doctor and see if he/she lacks vitamin D. Keep a check on your baby’s growth. If you notice any irregularities in your baby’s growth and behavior, go to the doctor as soon as possible.