Not too long ago, mothers used to massage their infants in the sun and kids used to love playing outdoors for hours at a stretch. But it's not the same scenario these days. Kids are now too invested in watching shows and playing games on the iPads or TVs. This is why the majority of children between the ages of 4 and 15 are most likely to have a vitamin D deficiency. Now, there are lots of sources containing vitamin D that can benefit your child's growth and development in many ways. And we're about to give you a list of all those sources along with some insight on other vitamin D sources.
7 Sources of Vitamin D:
Along with sources, there are many other foods containing vitamin D. We’ve listed some below for you.
Sunlight is one of the best natural vitamin D sources. If your kid spends just 10-15 minutes in the morning sun, it will help their body boost vitamin D levels. This is because when sunlight hits the skin, the cholesterol or fat in the skin converts it into vitamin D. However, don't let your kid spend too much time in the sun as excessive exposure to sunlight can also harm the skin.
These are one of the only non-animal sources of vitamin D. Mushrooms that are exposed to ultraviolet light when growing may contain a good amount of vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D will then vary on the amount of UV light that mushrooms are exposed to. Other than vitamin D, mushrooms also offer a good source of fibre, copper, zinc, selenium, potassium and phosphorus (1).
Vitamin D for children is of utmost importance and one way to get this vitamin is by feeding kids some salmon. 85 grams of pink canned salmon contains 11.6 mcg of vitamin D. Farmed salmon contains about 13.15 mcg of vitamin D which is about 66% of the daily value. Salmon is also loaded with healthy protein and omega-3 fatty acids (2).
3. Fortified Cereals:
There are many breakfast cereals and brans of oatmeal that are fortified with vitamin D. Most fortified cereals contain between 0.2 to 2.5 mcg per serving. Along with vitamin D, cereals are also packed with fiber content.
4. Egg Yolks:
One of the best vitamin D sources is egg yolks. Chickens that are allowed to roam outdoors are exposed to sunlight and lay eggs that boast 3-4 times more vitamin D than the ones that are raised indoors. Organic eggs or free-range eggs tend to have a higher amount of vitamin D.
One of the sources of vitamin D for children happens to be cheese. Most varieties of cheese contain 0.2 - 0.6 mcg of this vitamin per 50-gram serving.
6. Orange Juice:
Vitamin D for children can also be given in the form of fruit juice. There are many brands that fortify orange juice with vitamin D and other nutrients. 237 ml of fortified orange juice along with breakfast can give your child up to 2.5 mcg of vitamin D, which comes up to 12% of the daily value.
Vitamin D deficiency in kids can be dealt with by giving them daily supplements. We recommend you try Saffola Fittify The Perfekt Gummies For Bone Health Calcium and Vitamin D. These gummies are packed with vitamin D as well as calcium, both of which work really well for kids as they help them build good muscle strength and bones.
Benefits of Vitamin D for Kids:
Now that you know enough vitamin D sources, let us give you a little knowledge on the benefits of the same:
1. It Strengthens Immunity:
Vitamin D can help maintain and strengthen your kid's immune system. It revives the production of T-cells that can deal with bacteria, fungus, viruses and common illnesses like colds.
2. It Improves Brain Function:
Vitamin D sources can increase the amount of this vitamin in your body which plays an important role in activating and deactivating the synthesis of neurotransmitters along with nerve growth and repair.
3. It Strengthens Bones:
You might already know that calcium plays a vital role in building bone health in kids. But did you know that your kid's body can only absorb calcium when there is a presence of vitamin D? Throughout your kid's childhood and adolescence, they can build bones and so, getting enough vitamin D and calcium is crucial during this time.
Dosage of Vitamin D for Children:
For infants under 12 months, 400 IU (International Units) i.e 10 mcg (micrograms) of vitamin D per day is advised. For older children and adolescents, 600 IU i.e. 15 mcg of vitamin D is required. You need to note that fully or partially breastfed babies should get 400 IU i.e. 10 mcg of vitamin D from supplements till the time they're fully weaned and are able to drink milk that is fortified with vitamin D (3).
Vitamin D Deficiency in Kids:
Vitamin D deficiency in kids can result in bone and muscle pain. When children have low levels of vitamin D, it can lead to soft bones that cause rickets - a condition that is usually seen in adolescents and adults called osteomalacia.
If your child has vitamin D deficiency (4), the symptoms might include:
- Depression or anxiety
- Poor appetite
- Bone pain
- Low energy
- Dry skin or hair
Our body can make vitamin D with the help of UV light from the sun but for kids, that might not be the only best way to meet their needs. Hence, you can rely on foods containing vitamin D or supplements that meet your kid's daily need for this vitamin. The vitamin D sources that we've mentioned above will help your child achieve some amount of vitamin D daily. So if you know your kid has vitamin D deficiency, make sure to include plenty of the above-mentioned vitamin D sources in their daily diet.
Is low vitamin D common in children?
Most kids these days prefer sitting at home and playing instead of stepping out in the sun. And when there’s of sunlight on your body, it can result in vitamin D deficiency.
Can you have too much Vitamin D?
Too much vitamin D can result in too much calcium buildup in your body which can weaken your bones and cause damage to your kidneys and heart as well.
What part of the body absorbs vitamin D best?
Vitamin D that is consumed in the form or supplements gets absorbed in the part of the small intestine which is below the stomach. Pancreatic secretions, stomach juices, bile from the liver as well as the integrity of your intestine wall, all can have an influence on the amount of vitamin D that is absorbed.
How is vitamin D level tested in children?
Vitamin D level is tested in children with the help of blood tests. If your child experiences a seizure that lasts below five minutes, you needed to take them to a hospital as soon as the seizure ends.