Vitamin D Deficiency In Children

It is recommended for all children born in Germany to take vitamin D daily at least until the end of the first year of life. But what is vitamin D important for? Do children need extra pills? And what happens with a vitamin D deficiency in children?

That says the pediatrician Dr. Nadine Hess:

Until recently, vitamin D was thought to be a fat-soluble vitamin. According to recent studies, however, vitamin D is a so-called steroid hormone, just like testosterone, for example. For the sake of simplicity, however, I will stick with the – incorrect, but well-known – name vitamin D. This vitamin is mainly absorbed with food in its inactive form and converted into an active, effective form in the skin by the sun’s rays. Only a very small proportion of vitamin D is ingested in the active form through food. Fatty fish, beef liver, and avocados, for example, have a high vitamin D content.

What does the body need vitamin D for?

It has long been known that vitamin D is good for bone metabolism and ensures strong bones and teeth. In the meantime, however, researchers have discovered that the vitamin is also important for many other processes in the body. Among other things, it plays a role in the immune system. If the body is sufficiently supplied with vitamin D, it is z. B. less susceptible to infections.

How does a vitamin D deficiency affect the body?

Studies have shown that those who produce too little vitamin D are more susceptible to infections. A vitamin D deficiency can also be (partially) responsible for depression. Patients with so-called coronary heart diseases and low vitamin D levels even have an increased risk of suffering a fatal heart attack.

How to avoid vitamin D deficiency in children?

Although the sun’s rays can activate vitamin D through our skin, the so-called UV-B radiation in northern and central Europe, especially in the winter months, is too weak to trigger a sufficiently large production volume in the body. The result: people who rarely spend time outdoors in particular suffer from an undersupply of vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency is being found more and more frequently, especially among young people who prefer to stay indoors instead of going outside. To prevent a vitamin D deficiency in children and adolescents, it can make sense to take 1000-2000 IU (international units) of vitamin D in tablet form daily, at least during the winter months. If you suspect a vitamin D deficiency in children or yourself, this can be easily confirmed by taking a blood sample from the doctor.

What is vitamin D deficiency in children?

A vitamin D deficiency in children can lead to what is known as osteomalacia, also known as rickets. This is a disease associated with soft, bone, and bone deformities. Children in their first year of life have a particularly high need for vitamin D. Since breast milk contains relatively little vitamin D, a daily dose of 500 IU of vitamin D is recommended for the first year of life. Children who were born in autumn or winter should even stop taking it daily in the summer after their first birthday.

How can my child absorb vitamin D?

To keep the risk of rickets as low as possible, all infants and young children are now given vitamin D supplements as a precaution. Vitamin D comes in two forms: drops and tablets. However, since the dose in the drops has changed – in contrast to before – it is important to ensure that only one drop is administered per day. In addition, the droplets can vary in size depending on the room temperature. In the worst case, they then contain even more vitamin D. A significant overdose can have serious health consequences, such as vomiting, diarrhea, headache, joint pain, and kidney failure. Tablets, on the other hand, are harmless because they are standardized. The easiest way is to dissolve the tablet with some breast milk or formula milk on a spoon and give it to your child once a day.

How to prevent vitamin D deficiency in children

The best way to prevent vitamin D deficiency in children is to get vitamin D when they are out in the fresh air. If the child moves outside for half an hour every day, the body can fill up with enough vitamin D and thus prevent a deficiency. But as I said, due to the often lack of sun exposure, especially in the winter months, a vitamin D deficiency in children can occur in our latitudes despite being outdoors.

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Written by Crystal Nelson

I am a professional chef by trade and a writer at night! I have a bachelors degree in Baking and Pastry Arts and have completed many freelance writing classes as well. I specialized in recipe writing and development as well as recipe and restaurant blogging.

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