vitamin D, vitamin d recommendations for kids, vitamin d recs for kids

Babies, Children Need More Vitamin D, Academy Says

October 14, 2008 07:00 PM
by Emily Coakley
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends young children get more vitamin D as mounting evidence links a lack of it to Parkinson’s and other disorders.

Vitamin D Essential for Children

Infants—especially those who are exclusively breast-fed—and children need double the amount of vitamin D previously recommended, the AAP announced this week, according to Reuters. The new amount children should get, starting almost at birth, is 400 international units a day.

Children who don’t get enough vitamin D can develop rickets, a condition in which bones become soft.

The recommendation comes as more research into vitamin D’s potential benefits is published. The BBC reports that a lack of vitamin D has been linked to Parkinson’s disease.

In the latest edition of Archives of Neurology, researchers at Atlanta’s Emory University discovered that more than half of people they tested who had Parkinson’s disease also had low vitamin D levels. In healthy older adults they tested, just 36 percent had low levels of the vitamin, the BBC reports.

The BBC quoted one of the researchers, Dr. Marian Evatt, as saying, “We found that vitamin D insufficiency may have a unique association with Parkinson's, which is intriguing and warrants further investigation.”

Vitamin D is well-known for its role in bone health, but scientists are now discovering its importance in other body functions.

Earlier this year, a study suggested that children who take vitamin D are less likely to develop type 1 diabetes later on, reported Health Day.

A 10-year study of men, heart health and vitamin D suggested that men with such a deficiency had a 109 percent higher risk of experiencing a heart attack than those who had sufficient levels, after considering other risk factors like smoking.

Opinion & Analysis: Are vitamin D supplements the answer?

Meaghan Morelli, who writes the blog Mama’s Cup, said she plans to follow the recommendations.

“The research seems compelling enough, to me anyway, to convince me to add Vitamin D supplements not only to my little one’s diet, but to my own as well,” she said.

But Elisa Bosley, a mother and editor at DeliciousLiving Magazine, questioned the need for supplements when there are other ways to get vitamin D.

“[A]m I the only one who’s sort of surprised that the AAP would actually recommend vitamin D supplements for kids, even babies? Are we so sun-phobic that we wouldn’t prefer simply getting enough sunshine—15 minutes a day or so?” writes Bosley. “I tend to think that the most obvious, natural way to get vitamin D (sunshine and foods rich in the vitamin, including fish oil) might just be the best way.”

Reference: Parkinson’s disease


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