The skinny on Vitamin D

Balancing how your child gets the recommended daily dosage of Vitamin D is very important to their health.

When you hear the word vitamin, what do you think of?  Do you think of all of the different kinds of vitamins there are and how to get more of them? If you’re a parent, you should also be thinking “what vitamins is my child getting the most or the least of?” Knowing what vitamins your child is getting is important and could be connected to serious health issues, if left unchecked. One of the most important vitamins is Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin that helps maintain normal levels of calcium in the bloodstream.

The National Institute of Health tells us that Vitamin D deficiency is now a pandemic, especially for youth. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to asthma, allergies and obesity.   It has also has been linked to Type 2 Diabetes. Vitamin D deficiency is caused by a lack of exposure to the sun.  This can definitely be an issue for youth in Michigan, due to the cold winter months and climate Michigan has experienced for the past 100 years. In addition, babies often don’t get enough of it because exposing them to the sun for extreme periods of time when they are born would be harmful. 

Unfortunately, there are not many other ways to get this important vitamin, as Vitamin D is found in very few foods.  Most of the foods that Vitamin D can be found in have been fortified with it, meaning manufacturers add it to existing products. However, the foods that are fortified with Vitamin D still don’t supply an adequate amount of the vitamin to be beneficial to youth or adults. A Vitamin D supplement is usually suggested for babies and youth who can’t get enough of the nutrient from the sun. 

Balancing how your child gets the recommended daily dosage of Vitamin D is very important to their health. Michigan State University Extension recommends consulting with your doctor to figure out if your loved one has a Vitamin D deficiency and what the necessary steps are to keep your child’s current levels up to the proper level. For more information on vitamin D, explore your local library, doctor’s office or health department.

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