Baby & Toddler / 25 February, 2021 / Bianca Parau
Vitamin D, is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” as we need a good dose of sunshine to synthesise vitamin D.
It plays such an important role in how our body functions on a day to day level and even more so during periods of rapid growth, during pregnancy and breastfeeding as well as during illness and with auto-immune conditions.
This fat soluble vitamin (is actually a hormone) that is essential for healthy bones, muscles and teeth as it regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in our bodies. It also plays a powerful role in the proper functioning of our immune systems and our mood.
Vitamin D deficiency is widespread in the UK.
As the main source of vitamin D is sunshine, in the UK the sun is generally not producing the right wavelength of UVB rays for our skin to make vitamin D. From October to March we are at our most vulnerable for vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is also available in small quantities from mushrooms, oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, pilchards or trout), eggs, meat and certain milks (i.e. Arla) in the UK. Vitamin D quantities in milk, meat and eggs differ, depending on the season. Some yoghurts and breakfast cereals and all infant formula milks are enriched with vitamin D.
Breastmilk does contain small amounts of vitamin D, but this is dependent on the maternal vitamin D status.
The risk factors for vitamin D deficiency in infants and children include:
The Department of Health recommends vitamin D supplementation for:
There are two types of Vitamin D:
Both Vitamin D2 and D3 are equally effective. Most vitamin D3 sources are acceptable to vegetarians and those adhering to a Halal or Kosher diets as the main commercial source is Lanolin.
Tip: 10ug = 400IU
When purchasing a vitamin and mineral supplement, always check the individual product label for suitability or ask your pharmacist. It is also advised to raise any allergy concerns when purchasing a vitamin and mineral supplement to avoid any adverse reactions.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s nutrition and general supplementation, it is recommended to seek the help of a Registered Paediatric Dietitian.
Article by Bianca Parau, Specialist Paediatric Dietitian
Bianca can be contacted for appointments on 075 003 88108 or at firstname.lastname@example.org