Vitamin D Deficiency in Kids – Symptoms and Health Risks
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is essential for intestinal calcium absorption.Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight. It also occurs naturally in a few foods — including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks — and in fortified dairy and grain products.
Why children need vitamin D?
- Children need vitamin D for bone growth and development. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium.
- Serious vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to osteoporosis, some cancers, heart disease and diabetes.
- Babies still developing in the uterus also need vitamin D. If women don’t get enough vitamin D during pregnancy, their children might develop neonatal hypocalcaemia (not enough calcium in the blood) or rickets later in childhood.
How children can get vitamin D?
When sun – specifically UVB radiation – shines on our skin, our bodies make vitamin D. We get about 80% of our vitamin D this way. The Cancer Council recommends the following:
- In summer, fair-skinned people can get enough vitamin D from just a few minutes of sun on hands, arms and face every day.
- Dark-skinned people will need more sun than fair-skinned people. To find out how much sun you need, speak with your doctor.
Symptoms and Health Risks of vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency in Kids also causes severe health risks. Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean you have a vitamin D deficiency. However, for many people, the symptoms are subtle. Yet even without symptoms, too little vitamin D can pose health risks. Low blood levels of the vitamin have been associated with the following:
- Increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Cognitive impairment in older adults
- Severe asthma in children
Research suggests that vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of a number of different conditions, including type1 and type 2 diabetes,hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.