Vitamin D is the new “super Vitamin.” Produced by the skin, liver and kidney, Vitamin D is instrumental in regulating and maintaining bone, calcium balance, good cardiovascular health and proper immune function.
Over the past 3-4 decades we have seen a significant increase in Vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is defined as levels less than 15ng/ml; insufficiency is less than 20ng/ml and optimal levels should be greater than or equal to 30. According to recent pediatric data from the National Health and Nutrition Exam Survey (NHANES), approximately 9% or 7.6 million children are Vitamin D deficient, and 61% or 50.8 million children and teens are Vitamin D insufficient. Children who were deficient in Vitamin D had higher blood pressure values, and
higher cholesterol levels than children with normal Vitamin D levels.
Does Vitamin D Prevent Colds and the Flu?
In addition to promoting good cardiovascular health, Vitamin D plays a role in immune function and has a protective effect against upper respiratory illnesses. In kids with low Vitamin D levels, supplementing with Vitamin D resulted in a reduced incidence of colds and respiratory
infections and a study in Japan showed a protective effect against Influenza A.
On the flip side, too much Vitamin D is not protective against respiratory illnesses. A study recently published in JAMA showed that children given higher doses of Vitamin D as opposed to normal supplemental doses had no change in the number of respiratory tract infections.
The bottom line is that it’s important to have adequate levels of Vitamin D for overall good health and proper immune function. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants (especially breast fed infants) are supplemented with 400IU per day. Children’s chewable Vitamins contain the appropriate amount of Vitamin D. Teens should get 600IU per day.
Here are some natural food sources of Vitamin D.
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