Vitamin D is an essential micronutrient which allows your child to absorb calcium from food sources. As illustrated in the infographic below by MedAlertHelp, vitamin D plays a major role in building bones and keeping them strong. Additionally, this vitamin also improves your child’s ability to fight infections.
How Much Vitamin D Does My Child Need?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, and like other vitamins belonging to this class, the body has the ability to store it, unlike water-soluble vitamins. This means that deficiencies of vitamin D are generally not common among adults, especially considering the fact that it is the only vitamin our body is able to synthesize when our skin is exposed to sunlight.
However, children’s growing bodies have larger demands for this vitamin, so a deficiency can easily occur. Like other vitamins, it is measured in International Units (IU). Your children’s daily requirement of vitamin D depends on their age. If they are under one year of age, they require 400 IU of vitamin D. If they are one year old or above, they need anything between 600 IU to 1,000 IU per day.
That said, some kids require even more vitamin D than the recommendations say for their age. These are kids who:
Have certain health issues, like celiac disease, obesity, conditions affecting bones, multiple fractures, and cystic fibrosis; or
Are taking certain medications (such as anticonvulsants) that prevent the body from properly utilizing vitamin D.
If your child has it at risk from developing a vitamin D deficiency, make sure to consult a doctor about their recommended daily intake of vitamin D.
How Can I Ensure My Child Gets Enough Vitamin D?
The best source for vitamin D is sunlight. About ten minutes of unprotected sun exposure to the back, abdomen, legs, and arms every day can help your kids meet their recommended daily intake of vitamin D. However, please bear in mind that too much sun exposure can cause skin damage and even increase the risk of developing skin cancer later on.
Your kids can also get vitamin D from food, such as eggs, tofu, breakfast cereal, cremini mushrooms, and salmon. In addition to these, you can give them milk and yogurt as both of them contain decent amounts of this vitamin.
If you believe your child is not getting enough sunlight or eating vitamin D rich foods, your last resort should be to give them a vitamin D supplement to prevent deficiency, with your doctor’s approval.
For more information about vitamin D and the remaining 12 vitamins, take a look at the following infographic.