Baby Steps to Strong Bones With Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays an important role in a baby's physical development. It's most notable function is to aid in building, nourishing and strengthening a child's bones and teeth. As such, children who have vitamin D deficiency symptoms may suffer from rickets, a condition where the bones soften; this may, later on, lead to deformities as well as fractures.
Vitamin D for Everybody
The simplest and most abundant source of vitamin D is sunlight, however the vitamin D requirement of one child may vary from another because of certain factors. Take for example the cases of children who live in far northern latitude (like Canada and Russia) or those who live in cities where high rise buildings and pollution are everywhere, compared to other babies, they have a higher requirement because they don't regularly get any sunlight.
Also, children (as well as mothers) who have darker skin have a larger need for sun exposure to facilitate sufficient levels of vitamin D. However, this is not a sunlight issue, instead it has something to do with one's skin pigmentation; the darker the skin, the greater the amount required.
Moms Should Know Best
While there are mothers who breastfeed their children, the amount of vitamin D that they pass on to the young ones are still not enough. In addition, there are also mothers who are vitamin D deficient themselves, so all the more that the amount of vitamin D that they give to their children are significantly less. Their level of vitamin D may be affected by diet and of course, sun exposure If a child's vitamin D level, though sun exposure is adequate, then low vitamin D transfer (through breastfeeding) is likely to be a problem. However, if a baby has very limited sun exposure, then the milk becomes his/her only source of the said vitamin.
Mothers, however, can take an extra effort to address potential vitamin D problems. These steps may be taken either during pregnancy or lactation period. According to research, babies who are born to women who have insufficient vitamin D levels are strongly dependent on supplements and sun exposure. A mother's vitamin D level directly creates an impact on the child especially during the first trimester. During pregnancy, expectant mothers can have their blood tested to assess their parathyroid hormones, if the hormonal level is higher than normal, then it may imply vitamin D deficiency. While sunlight is the richest source of the said vitamin, some foods are also abundant. Cod liver oil, fishes and shellfish, dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt may also be helpful. During lactation, an increase in sun exposure and vitamin D supplement may result to better vitamin D level in her milk.
Vitamin D and kids' health have a very strong connection and it should be emphasized that failure to provide adequate vitamin D to children may result to serious consequences.