Why Do Babies Need Vitamin D
While a lot has been talked about Vitamin D nowadays, right from its need from infants to old age, everybody needs vitamin D. Recent studies have shown about 77% of infants are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is observed in infants who are mainly on exclusive breast milk and babies who are completely wrapped up and not exposed enough to the sunlight and also when the mother is vitamin D deficient. During the first 6 to 8 weeks of birth – the vitamin D level of your baby is determined by the vitamin D levels at birth, which in turn depend on the vitamin D reserves of the mother. Also the vitamin D found in breast milk is low and inadequate for the growing infant, and hence babies who are exclusively on breast milk usually suffer from Vitamin D deficiency.
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Why do babies need Vitamin D?
While the main role of vitamin D in infants lie in calcium absorption, bone development and growth in children, its deficiency leads to RICKETS and lack of muscle tone. When the calcium absorption in an infant’s body is low, he may also suffer from hypocalcaemia and seizures. In younger children, the lack of calcium from the diet is one of the common causes of Vitamin D deficiency leading to bowed legs, knock-knees ---- rickets.
Signs of low Vitamin D
If your baby has excessive head sweating, a little delayed milestones, lack of tone of muscles, his fontanelles haven’t closed and he/she doesn’t feel any pain on being pinched, try and check his vitamin D. Other physical features that indicate a Vitamin D deficiency include a large head and a pot belly.
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How much Vitamin D does your child need?
The requirement of a Vitamin D in infants up to 1 year is 400 IU /DAY, and 600 IU/day in children more than a year old. The U.S Endocrine committee recommends intake of 400- 1000 IU/day under 1year of age and 600- 1000 IU/day from 1 TO 18 years of age. The requirement of the same is more especially in children who are taking other medications like anticonvulsants (medicines to control seizures), antifungal medicines or medication for AIDS.
Ways to up your child’s Vitamin D intake
The preparations available in India are; Vitamin D3 – as oral drops 400 IU/ml; Syrup 400 IU/5 ml; and Tablets as 1000 and 2000 IU in blister packing and also as sachets, in powder form with each sachet containing 60000 IU of vitamin D3. Apart from the regular vitamin D3 drops, injections and sachets are also available. Homoeopathy also has a few medicines which help in improving this deficiency. Medicines like Silicea, Calcarea carb, Calcarea phos are few common remedies for the same. While the most common source of VITAMIN D is Sunlight, there are other sources as well like Salmon, cod liver oil and organ meats and fortified foods like milk and cheese, which are rich sources of Vitamin D.
So, as they say the eyes see what the mind perceives…hence it’s a boon to keep this bit of information in mind to take care of the health of your child ….
Dr. NEHA SMART
This article was originally published on Indian Moms Community.