Vitamin D and Children: Do Your Children Eat Mackerel?
For various reasons, children today often spend more time indoors than in previous decades. This may impact health in many ways, including their exposure to sunlight and thus to natural production by the body of vitamin D.
Vitamin D has important roles in the skeletal health, immunity, brain function, mood regulation and many other aspects of whole-body health. Each of these aspects of health—especially important during periods of growth during childhood—may be impacted by deficiency of this essential vitamin. In adults, vitamin D deficiency associates also with asthma, depression, insomnia, diabetes, chronic pain, as well as osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, heart disease and immune issues including cancer and autoimmune diseases.
Vitamin D has many functions and vitamin D receptors are found throughout the body in a variety of tissues and cells. The widespread impact of vitamin D and its receptors is important to realise, especially since the most common early signs of deficiency include fatigue, weakness, depression, sleep disturbances and immune system issues—all common symptoms of a variety of other health conditions.
Food sources of this important vitamin include mackerel, sardines, halibut, salmon and other fish, raw milk, eggs and some mushrooms. Whilst raw milk is thought to contain some natural vitamin D, synthetic vitamin D is added to some pasteurized milks including cow’s milk and soy milk. Children can be fussy eaters and may not be getting sufficient amounts of this important vitamin from their diet.
The best way to ensure adequate vitamin D levels is via exposure to sunlight. Use of sunscreen blocks the production of vitamin D by the skin so even the summer months may not provide sufficient exposure to sunlight to produce enough vitamin D needed for bones, teeth and immune health.
As a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D stores in the liver and fatty tissue of humans. Consequently, excess body fat, which absorbs vitamin D, may potentially prevent its use by the body. So, reduced amounts of outdoor exercise (common with many young people in the UK) may have double impact on vitamin D status of young people, a group for which levels of obesity are on the rise.
Between the months of November and March, sunlight in the UK is insufficient to allow natural production by the body of vitamin D, and supplementation may be the best means to obtain sufficient levels of this important vitamin.
A daily intake of 400 IU/day of vitamin D is recommended for everyone over the age of one year, especially during the fall and winter months.
Best Choice offers a special Vitamin D Oral Spray for every member of the family!