Vitamin D keeps our bones strong and healthy.
But did you know it’s also one of the most common vitamin deficiencies, especially in Canada?
Vitamin D deficiency is an issue affecting people of all ages, but especially children and teens.
Whether it’s due to lack of sunlight or picky eating, it’s important to ensure your child has sufficient vitamin D.
It’s necessary for a lot more than bone growth.
But what are the signs and symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency? And what can you do to make sure your child has all the necessary nutrients?
You can find answers by contacting a naturopath for children in Toronto.
Keep reading to learn more about this all-too-common vitamin deficiency.
What Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin your skin produces, or synthesizes, after sunlight exposure.
After it’s synthesized, your liver and kidneys transform it into the vitamin D your body needs.
Vitamin D is important for many reasons. It helps you absorb other vitamins and minerals, first of all.
For example, it increases your gut absorption of calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and others.
It’s also necessary for healthy bone growth, cardiovascular health, balancing hormones, and helping your immune system function properly.
There are many benefits to making sure your child has enough vitamin D in their system.
These benefits include:
• May reduce risk of multiple sclerosis, or MS
• May reduce risk of certain types of cancer, including colon and breast cancer
• May reduce risk of contracting the common cold
• May improves lung function, especially in those with asthma and/or COPD
What Are The Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency In Children?
The most common symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency you should keep an eye out for in your child are chronic fatigue and frequent illness.
Severe vitamin D deficiencies happen, but they are quite rare. If left untreated, they can cause bone diseases such as rickets or osteomalacia.
Additionally, having a lack of vitamin D may cause a delay in the age your child starts walking.
When it comes to infants, low levels of vitamin D are linked to low birth weights.
If your young one is always exhausted or comes down with a cold more often than you’d expect, consider getting them tested for a vitamin D deficiency.
Risk Factors For Vitamin D Deficiency
There are a few risk factors that may increase your child’s chances of developing a vitamin D deficiency.
These factors include:
Insufficient sun exposure
You need sun exposure to generate the vitamin D your body needs.
But for those of us who live in Toronto, there isn’t much direct sunlight for much of the year.
In fact, the higher you live in latitude, the greater your risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Even for those who live in tropical climates, though, our modern habits of spending most of our time indoors can cause vitamin d deficiency.
Especially in children, excess body weight is associated with vitamin D deficiency.
This 2013 study highlights this.
In general, obesity is becoming a larger issue. According to this 2016 study, one Canadian child in seven was found to be overweight or obese.
Darker skin tone
Melanin is known to naturally block UVB rays and interfere with vitamin D production.
As a result, those with more melanin in their skin are at greater risk of being deficient in vitamin D.
How Common Is Vitamin D Deficiency In Children?
Unfortunately, vitamin D is one of the most common deficiencies in Canada. This includes children.
This is particularly problematic because vitamin D is necessary for healthy bone growth. So you want to ensure your child has all the building blocks necessary for their well-being.
Although this 2011 study doesn’t cite a specific number, it does say that vitamin D deficiency among children is “common”.
Should You Give Your Child Vitamin D Supplements?
Before you start shopping for supplements, it’s best to know exactly how much vitamin D your child needs. Getting them tested for vitamin deficiencies is a great way to do this.
This is a common and simple blood test that your naturopathic doctor or family doctor can order for you.
If you have a baby who is formula-fed, however, most formulas on the market are fortified with vitamin D.
The general rule for breast-fed infants is to take 400 IU of vitamin D every day to prevent deficiency.
For children over the age of 1 year (and adults, up to age 70), the Institute of Medicine recommends 600 IU of vitamin D daily.
However, these are just guidelines. Not medical advice.
Vitamin and mineral supplements can boost your health, but you should consider consulting a naturopathic doctor when incorporating them into your family’s routine.
Contact Annex Naturopathic
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies affecting children. It can seriously impact bone growth, respiratory health, and overall well-being.
Is your little one is feeling sluggish or fatigued? Are they not feeling their best? If so, consider having them tested for a vitamin D deficiency.
Thankfully, there are natural solutions to help you and your family deal with vitamin deficiencies.
Contact us at Annex Naturopathic for all-natural treatment options.
We can tell you all there is to know about vitamin and mineral deficiencies, how they affect your health, and how you can get your family on the path to wellness.
We understand the importance of your child’s health and well-being, and we can help.
Contact Annex Naturopathic today.
Yours in Health,
Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND