The human body can produce vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight, so it is also called the sunshine vitamin, and it can be obtained from some food sources and supplements, and some estimates indicate that to get enough of this vitamin, the skin must be exposed to sunlight from three to five minutes.
Two to three times a week, and it is important to take adequate amounts of vitamin D, as it has an important role in promoting the health of bones and teeth, increasing the strength of the immune system, heart, vessels and nervous system, regulating insulin levels, it also enhances lung functions, and can reduce Cancer risk, as well as many health benefits.
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency in children
Not eating enough sources of vitamin D, or not getting enough sunlight, can cause a deficiency in its levels. Experts also point out that young children should not be exposed to ultraviolet rays.
As their skin is very thin and sensitive, and recent studies have indicated that the number of infants, children, and adults with vitamin D deficiency is very large, yet these people do not show any symptoms indicative of this deficiency, and when photographing children with deficiency.
By X-rays, it was found that some of them suffer from osteoporosis, but these results are not confirmed, and there are fears that the density with which the bones grow during childhood can increase the risk of osteoporosis in later life.
Vitamin D deficiency risks
A lack of vitamin D, phosphate, and calcium may lead to rickets, as these elements are important for healthy bone growth and maintenance, and children with this disease usually suffer from weak bones, lack of growth, and sometimes may It leads to abnormalities in the skeleton.
And it is known that vitamin D helps to increase the absorption of these minerals from the intestines, and therefore its deficiency reduces the body’s ability to retain calcium and phosphorous, and leads to the body’s secretion of hormones that release these elements from the bones, leading to weakness Orthopedic.
Children from 6-36 months of age are more affected by rickets, and this disease is accompanied by several symptoms, including the following:
- Pain in the bones of the elbows, legs, spine, and pelvis.
- Bone fractures.
- Muscle spasm.
- Delayed tooth formation.
- Defects in the structure of the teeth.
- Holes in the enamel layer.
- cavities in the teeth.
- curvature of the legs.
- Curvature of the spine.
- Pelvic abnormalities.
- Skull distortion.
- Protrusion into the breastbone.
Rickets is usually treated by exposing the child to the sun, or encouraging him to eat foods rich in vitamin D. The doctor may give the child supplements of vitamin D and calcium; The dose given depends on the size of the child.
Vitamin D sources for children
There are three main sources of vitamin D and they are as follows:
Sunlight: The body can manufacture vitamin D if it is exposed to sufficient amounts of sunlight, but this may not be easy, whether in children or adults; Where people spend most of their time indoors and are not exposed to enough sunlight, it is important to note that it is important to protect the skin: Where exposure to the sun for large times can lead to melanoma, and skin damage.
Food sources: Food sources that contain vitamin D are very few, including fish oil and fatty fish, and children usually do not eat these foods, so companies have produced types of foods fortified with vitamin D; Such as milk, infant formula, milk, cereals, juices, etc., but the fortification of these fortified foods can also be insufficient to obtain adequate amounts of the vitamin.
Nutritional supplements: Children usually need to take a multivitamin supplement that contains vitamin D, or take a vitamin D supplement, to get their need of this vitamin.
Recommended amounts of vitamin D for children
Children’s need for vitamin D varies according to their age groups, as follows:
Children under one year: This category of children needs 400 international units of vitamin D on a daily basis, and it is known that one liter of formula contains 400 international units, so the child’s consumption of one liter of milk per day is sufficient to meet his need for This vitamin, but if the child depends on mother’s milk only, or eats less than a liter of formula milk, he may need vitamin D supplements, after consulting the health care provider.
Children older than a year: Children at this stage need 600 international units or more of vitamin D per day, and health care providers usually prefer that children take an amount of vitamin D that ranges between 600-1000 international units.
Other conditions: Some children may suffer from health problems that require them to obtain higher amounts of vitamin D; Among these problems: obesity, wheat allergy, cystic fibrosis, bone pain, and fractures, and children who have undergone orthopedic surgery need a greater amount of vitamin D to recover, and in addition to this, taking some medications may need to increase the amount of vitamin D as well, and these include: pharmaceutical; Anti-seizure medicines, which prevent the body from using vitamin D.
General symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is a common condition; About a billion people in the world suffer from it, and the symptoms caused by vitamin D deficiency include the following:
- Repeated illness or infection.
- Fatigue and stress.
- Bone and back pain.
- Delayed wound healing.
- Loss of bone density.
- Hair loss.
- Muscle pain.