Vitamin D: it helps build strong bones, may be protective of some diseases both now and in later life, and very few people get enough of it.
Generally, you hear about vitamin D in relation to milk (it often has vitamin D added to it) and time in the sunlight because UV rays trigger vitamin D production.
However, nearly everyone is short of the recommended dosages of vitamin D. This time of year, for example, there is precious little sunshine, and on sunny days we apply sunscreen to prevent the skin damage and sunburn those same UV rays cause. As much as we promote sunscreen for those very good reasons, it limits the production of vitamin D in our bodies.
The only way for most of us to get all the vitamin D we need is through supplements. They are inexpensive, easily available, and easy to administer.
An article by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) announces their new recommendations that all ages should take vitamin D supplements to ensure bone and immune system health, both now and in the future.
- Infants. Since breast milk doesn’t usually contain enough vitamin D, a supplement of 400 IU (international units) is recommended daily for breastfed babies. The recommendation is the same for formula-fed babies, unless they are receiving 32 ounces of formula per day (formulas contain vitamin D). Liquid supplements are best for infants.
- Children. By the age of three, when children can chew hard foods, a chewable multivitamin that contains 400 IU of vitamin D is the daily recommendation. If your child is drinking 32 ounces of vitamin-fortified milk each day, she should be getting enough vitamin D without a supplement.
- Teens. The recommendation holds for teens: 400 IU of vitamin D daily, whether through diet (though few get enough through food alone) or supplement.
Remember to keep all supplements and medications out of reach for a child.
Build a stronger skeletal and immune system now, and let your child reap the benefits both now and later.
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