Just about everyday, a new study points to the health benefits of Vitamin D3. In fact, when the American Academy of Pediatrics published their evaluation of the advantages of this “sunshine” vitamin they advocated doubling Vitamin D levels for infants, children and adolescents.
Unfortunately, millions of U.S. children are low In Vitamin D.1 Vitamin D is an important fat soluble vitamin. It is naturally present in only very few foods, can be obtained from sun exposure, and is available as a dietary supplement. A current study found seven out of ten (or 7.6 million) U.S. children have low levels of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D supplementation may help. In the study, children who took Vitamin D supplements were less likely to be deficient in the vitamin.1 Supplements are especially important for those living in the country’s northern regions where the sun may be too weak to maintain healthy Vitamin D levels. Supplements are also critical for infants who are breastfed, say the researchers.
The authors recommend that pediatricians should routinely screen high-risk children for Vitamin D deficiency, and that parents should ensure that their kids get adequate amounts of the vitamin through a combination of diet, supplements, and exposure to sunlight. The message for healthcare professionals and parents is that Vitamin D deficiency is a real problem with consequences for a child’s health now and in the future.
What is Vitamin D?
In the 1930’s, it was found that a bone sickness called rickets was caused by Vitamin D deficiency. It was a very serious health problem for children. To combat rickets, most of the country’s milk supply was fortified with Vitamin D, resulting in near elimination of the disease. In recent years, there has been growing concern that Vitamin D deficiency has again become widespread, affecting young and old alike. In fact, it is only recently that we are beginning to understand just how important Vitamin D really is to our overall health.
Through exposure to direct sunlight, our bodies produce Vitamin D naturally. Researchers have suggested the evolution of our environment and today’s modern lifestyle – cloud cover, pollution, intense use of sunscreens, working longer hours indoors and watching videogames – are all factors contributing to Vitamin D deficiency.
A further concern is that foods rich in Vitamin D are limited. Dietary supplements are commonly used to help get the recommended daily dose. There are two forms of Vitamin D: Vitamin D2, also called ergocalciferol; and Vitamin D3, also called cholecalciferol. Most experts now believe that the only form that should be purchased is Vitamin D3.
- Vitamin D3 is considered to be the most “natural” form.
- Vitamin D3 is the more potent form of Vitamin D, which is a potential benefit.
- Vitamin D3 is more stable on the shelf compared to D2.
- Perhaps most importantly, Vitamin D3 has been the most utilized form of Vitamin D in research, clinical trials and human trials.
Top 4 Reasons to Supplement Vitamin D3 Daily
The benefits of Vitamin D cannot be underestimated. Here are four top reasons why your child should be supplementing with this vitamin everyday.
Vitamin D can help regulate the immune system. Vitamin D is now seen as having a critical function in maintaining the immune system throughout life and long-term Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to immune disorders.2 Proper levels of Vitamin D support the body’s natural defenses and help to maintain a healthy functioning immune system.
Vitamin D promotes the growth of cells which are found in healthy joints and is a key nutrient for maintaining/achieving proper bone health. The active form, Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus which are incorporated into the bones and make them strong and dense. Therefore, Vitamin D is especially paramount for the health, formation, growth and development of bones in growing children.
Vitamin D may help guard against immune issues. In a recent study, it was determined that Vitamin D helped boost the body’s resistance to colds and respiratory issues (Journal Archives of Internal Medicine, 2009).3
Recent studies on the sunshine vitamin support Vitamin D’s role in a healthy heart, both in children as they develop and in adults. According to a study of over 6,000 children by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine ”Vitamin D deficiency could place millions of children at risk for high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart concerns.”4
Supplementing with Vitamin D3
Give your child the daily Vitamin D3 support they need! ChildLife’s® Organic Vitamin D3 and ChildLife’s® Vitamin D3 are available in easy to use drops with a delicious natural mixed berry flavor.
It is the perfect delivery system for infants and children of all ages. As we have discussed, only a few foods naturally contain significant amounts of Vitamin D, predominantly fatty fish and fish oils. These foods can be difficult to get children to eat, especially in amounts that will provide beneficial health levels.
Exposure to sunlight is an important source of Vitamin D. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight trigger Vitamin D synthesis in the skin. But season, latitude, time of day, cloud cover, smog, and today’s widespread use of sunscreen affect UV ray exposure, and consequently, Vitamin D levels. Supplementation in children is almost always helpful … and necessary.
ChildLife® uses only the highest quality ingredients in their natural formulas. Both ChildLife® Organic Vitamin D3 and ChildLife® Vitamin D3 are gluten free, casein free and alcohol free. They contain no milk, soy, eggs, yeast, wheat or corn. There are no artificial colorings, no artificial sweeteners and no artificial preservatives.
Q: We live in a sunny, southern state. Isn’t my child already getting enough Vitamin D from the sun?
A: Despite food sources of Vitamin D and the body’s ability to self-produce Vitamin D from sun exposure, more than 7 out of 10 children have insufficient Vitamin D levels. There are several reasons why they are not getting enough Vitamin D. Most of us are aware that unprotected, direct sun exposure may lead to serious skin and health problems. As a parent, you probably limit sun exposure for your child and are most likely putting sunscreen on them when they go out in direct sunlight. In addition, chances are that your child is spending more time playing on-line games and working on computers indoors, a lifestyle that is becoming more typical in our society. So consider Vitamin D supplementation to help assure your family is getting the proper levels of this important vitamin.
Q: No matter how much I try, my teenager’s diet is not very healthy. I am concerned that they are not getting enough Vitamin D. Is this vitamin important for teenagers or just for infants and toddlers?
A: Your teenager requires Vitamin D and it is a nutrient necessary for health from infancy to adulthood. Vitamin D plays a part in the bone building process by helping the body to absorb calcium. Whether your child is an infant or a teen, Vitamin D is also needed for a healthy immune system. Additionally, research suggests Vitamin D can help maintain heart health as children age.
- Journal Reference: Michal L. Melamed, Juhi Kumar, Paul Muntner, Frederick J. Kaskel, and Susan M. Hailpern. Prevalence and Associations of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Deficiency in Children and Adolescents in the United States: Results from NHANES 2001-2004. Pediatrics, August 3, 2009.
- A.A. Ginde, et al., “Association Between Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Level and Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,”Arch. Intern. Med. 169 (4), 384–390 (2009).
These additional Vitamin D scientific references support the immense health benefits of Vitamin D3.
DeLuca HF , Zierold C. Mechanisms and functions of vitamin D. Nutr Rev 1998; 56:S4-10.
Reichel H, Koeffler H, Norman AW. The role of vitamin D endocrine system in health and disease. N Engl J Med 1989; 320:980-991.
van den Berg H. Bioavailability of vitamin D. Eur J Clin Nutr 1997; 51 Suppl 1:S76-9.
Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1999.
Goldring SR, Krane S, Avioli LV. Disorders of calcification: Osteomalacia and rickets. In: LJ D, ed. Endocrinology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1995:1204-1227.
Favus MJ, Christakos S. Primer on the Metabolic Bone Diseases and Disorders of Mineral Metabolism. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott-Raven, 1996.
Holick MF . Vitamin D. In: Shils M, Olson J, Shike M, Ross AC, ed. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1999.
Holick MF . McCollum Award Lecture, 1994: Vitamin D: New horizons for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr 1994; 60:619-630.
Chapuy MC, Arlot ME, Duboeuf F , et al. Vitamin D3 and calcium to prevent hip fractures in elderly women. N Engl J Med 1992; 327:1637-42.
MacLaughlin J, Holick MF . Aging decreases the capacity of human skin to produce vitamin D3. J Clin Invest 1985; 76:1536-1538.
Holick MF , Matsuoka LY, Wortsman J. Age, vitamin D, and solar ultraviolet. Lancet 1989; 2:1104-1105.
Need AG, Morris HA, Horowitz M, Nordin C. Effects of skin thickness, age, body fat, and sunlight on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Am J Clin Nutr 1993; 58:882-885.
Holick MF . Vitamin D. In: Shils M OJ, Shike M, ed. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger, 1994; 308-325.
Webb AR, Kline L, Holick MF . Influence of season and latitude on the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D3: Exposure to winter sunlight in Boston and Edmonton will not promote vitamin D3 synthesis in human skin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1988; 67:373-378.