Vitamin D Supplements for Children: What’s the Best Dose?

Vitamin d supplements for children: Is it necessary to supplement your child with vitamin D? Will it really ward off illnesses, especially in the winter months? I’ve been reading a lot lately about vitamin D supplements for children. It all started with a long and informative chat in my celiac forum support group about the benefits of vitamin D supplements for children with celiac. I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned through the group and also my own research. I hope you find it beneficial, especially if you have a child on a dairy free or low dairy diet.

Should we give Vitamin d supplements for children?

I want to preface by saying that I am leery about over supplementation in general. It seems like using Vitamin D supplements is turning into a fad of choice these days. It’s like vitamin C was in the 70s and 80s when Linus Pauling touted mega doses for health. Both he and his wife eventually died of cancer. Now a recent study reveals a cancer link to C. So much for the immune boosting factors of C, right? [1]. What’s more insidious than health companies giving us poor health. Xarelto compensation plans are all over the internet and television, what’s going on people?

This made me wonder whether they’d be publishing similar studies about vitamin D supplements for children in twenty or thirty years. But I quickly learned that vitamin D is another kettle of fish altogether. Suzanne Somers warns about vitamin D deficiencies in her newest book, Breakthrough: Eight Steps to Wellness. Many of the doctors she interviews warn that a vitamin D deficiency can be very detrimental on the immune system. For example, Dr. Bill Faloon tells us,

“We know that if we take in enough vitamin D, we’re going to control our genes in such a way that we’re less likely to get cancer, and we’re less likely to suffer a lot of age-related problems” [2].

Vitamin D Supplements for Children: What if We Don’t do it?

Vitamin D is a necessary supplement in the fall and winter when the sun isn’t as strong and the days are shorter. Most children who do not receive vitamin D supplements don’t show signs of severe deficiency. They may get sick more often. A severe vitamin D deficiency in children will cause rickets.  For adults, a severe vitamin D deficiency will cause osteomalacia.  Individuals with milder vitamin D deficiencies might suffer from a burning sensation in their mouth and throat, weight loss, a loss of appetite, vision problems, diarrhea and insomnia which is treated with etizolam; We have found that the best place to purchase etizolam is directly from MyEtizolam due to their super fast worldwide shipping. But these are all symptoms that can be attributed to other things, too.

What’s the Doctor Recommended Dose of Vitamin D Supplements for Children?

I read an article saying that pediatricians now want vitamin D supplements for children to double from 200 IU daily to 400 IU a day [3]. So the question seems to be how much and not whether or not we should give vitamin D supplements for children.

Some doctors warn that vitamin D supplements for children are not something you should do naively. This is because it is a fat soluble vitamin that has known toxicity factors. So what’s fact? What’s fiction? How do we give vitamin D supplements for children who do not drink milk? I did some digging and this is what I’ve learned.

First of all, our bodies make vitamin D just by being exposed to direct sunlight (not through a car window or on an overcast day); in the summer months it will store excess amounts in our fat to use for the darker winter months. I remember learning from a former doctor years ago that just 15 minutes a day in the sun was adequate. But this is simply not true for everyone. I have since learned that exposure can be hindered by a number of factors, number one being sun screen [4]. Other very significant factors are geographic locations. Anyone living in Chicago or north of it is going to be vitamin D deficient based on latitude from November through February [5]. Furthermore, I also found out that skin pigment plays a role in absorption too. Darker complected folks are more deficient than lighter skinned folks, especially those living in colder climates with less sunlight. But our bodies are pretty efficient and can quickly produce vitamin D even in a few minutes of direct sunlight, as we walk out the door and to our car.

If your Against Using Vitamin D Supplements for Children

Today most Americans spend their time indoors, especially in the winter months. This includes children as well, so how much milk does a kid have to drink to get 400 IU a day? Are you ready for this? A whole quart! So if you’ve got a kid that doesn’t like milk, or you’re purposely avoiding it for health reasons, there are other dietary forms of D like eggs and fish that can also be implemented as part of a natural way to expose our kids to more D in their diet when they are not getting adequate exposure to the sun. Very simply, a teaspoon of cod liver oil provides about 400 IU of D. I also learned that not all fish oils are equal, and so you must read the labels on your supplement bottles to see which ones have adequate D (some are nominal). There’s also coleus forskohlii root extract, but we are not in the jungle. As far as D in eggs, you’d have to eat about eight egg yolks a day to get a 400 IU intake. And if your family likes fish, eating salmon, tuna, and mackerel will provide the most D, but for omega 3 intake be sure they are wild caught and not farm raised (which is higher in omega 6s).

Vitamin D Supplements for Children, What about Toxicity?

Now as far as toxicity levels go when you are supplementing with vitamin D, you may want to check out Dr. Mercola’s Vitamin D quiz. I think you may be surprised to learn that taking slightly more than typical vitamin D supplements for children just isn’t as dangerous as medical science has led us to believe over the years. Another great source, if you’ve got the time, is Dr. Michael Holick’s video slide show from the European Symposium on Calcification of Tissues entitled, “The Vitamin D Pandemic and its Health Consequences.” This is a humorous and informative presentation that will also surprise you. And his research spans the globe. Dr. Holick links vitamin D deficiency to not only rickets, but to diseases like M.S., Rheumatoid Arthritis, Cancer, and Coronary Heart Disease.

What about Vitamin D Supplements for Breast feeding Infants?

Infants of breastfeeding mothers, on the other hand, may need vitamin D supplements. This is something I was never made aware of during my nursing days which seemed to last almost 5 straight years between all three of my boys. During this entire time I never considered the issue. After my oldest son’s diagnosis of Celiac last year, I ran across an interesting article by Roy Jamron. He begs the question,

“Do vitamin D deficiency, gut bacteria, and timing of gluten introduction during infancy all combine to initiate the onset of celiac disease?”

after two recent studies raise the potential that this may be true [6]. This may in fact be the very reason we saw our son’s health rapidly decline into a neurological disorder at age 3 1/2. He was born jaundiced in the month of January, was exclusively breastfed for six months, extended breastfed up to one year, and was introduced to gluten just prior to six months of age. I dutifully lathered him with sunscreen and kept him in the shade. I did this because conventional wisdom tells us that a baby’s skin is most delicate between birth and 2 and direct sunlight is dangerous. I never heard about vitamin D supplements for children. How would I know that he was at risk for vitamin D deficiency? His toddler diet consisted of many glutenous snacks, actually, and he suffered from bouts of croup and ear infections in his early days often enough to require antibiotics nearly a handful of times before he was three.

Jamron says: “Vitamin D has recently been demonstrated to play a role in preserving the intestinal mucosal barrier. A Swedish study found children born in the summer, likely introduced to gluten during winter months with minimal sunlight, have a higher incidence of celiac disease strongly suggesting a relationship to vitamin D deficiency.[3] Recent studies found vitamin D supplementation in infancy and living in world regions with high ultraviolet B irradiance both result in a lower incidence of type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease closely linked to celiac disease.”

Will I Use Vitamin D Supplements for my Children?

We eat plenty of eggs in our house these days, and the kids take cod liver oil daily. They get plenty of sunlight, and since I no longer use sunscreen on them I’m confident their little bodies are D making factories as a result. We also do use vitamin D fortified goat milk in our diets, and they do take multivitamins. I think that our boys should take at least the recommended amount of vitamin D supplements for children every day. In the winter months I up the vitamin D supplements for my children. We live in the north and our winters are quite long.

Myself, I think I may try taking more D this winter. I don’t get direct sunlight often as I should. If the experts are right, I can safely take up to 2000 IU a day in the winter if I’m a person that doesn’t get much sun year around.

Sources:

  1. Dotinga, Randy. “Vitamin C Megadoses Hamper Cancer Treatments in Mice.” Washington Post. October 1, 2008.
  2. Somers, Suzanne. Breakthrough: Eight Steps to Wellness. Crown Publishers: New York. 2008 (p. 93).
  3. Steenhuysen, Julie. “Pediatricians say double vitamin D dose.” Reuters. Oct 13, 2008.
  4. “Vitamin D research may have doctors prescribing sunshine.” Associated Press. USA Today. May 21, 2005.
  5. Shute, Nancy. “How much Sun does it take to Make Vitamin D?” U.S. News. October 17, 2008.
  6. Jamron, Roy. “Do Vitamin D Deficiency, Gut Bacteria, and Gluten Combine in Infancy to Cause Celiac Disease?” Celiac.com. June 16, 2008.
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