How Much Vitamin D Does My Child Need
Vitamin D is measured in international units .
- Babies younger than 1 year old need 400 IU of vitamin D a day. Baby formula has 400 IU per liter, so babies who drink at least 32 ounces of formula each day get enough. If your baby drinks only breast milk or gets less than 32 ounces of formula each day, ask your health care provider about giving your baby a vitamin D supplement.
- Kids older than 1 year need 600 IU or more of vitamin D a day. Health care providers often want healthy kids to take 600 to 1,000 IU daily.
Some kids might need more vitamin D, such as those who:
- have certain medical problems
How Should I Take Cholecalciferol
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use only the recommended dose of cholecalciferol.
It may be best to take cholecalciferol after a meal, but you may take this medicine with or without food.
Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device .
The chewable tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.
To take a disintegrating tablet, place it on your tongue and do not swallow the tablet whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing. If desired, you may drink liquid to help swallow the dissolved tablet.
The cholecalciferol wafer is usually taken only once per week or once per month. Follow your doctor’s dosing instructions very carefully. The wafer must be chewed before you swallow it.
While using cholecalciferol, you will need frequent blood tests. You may also need x-rays.
Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with this medicine.
Cholecalciferol may be only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes dietary changes and taking calcium and vitamin supplements. Follow your doctor’s instructions very closely.
Learn about the foods you should eat to make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Your cholecalciferol dose may need to be adjusted as you make changes to your diet.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, light, and heat.
Q: Do Some People Naturally Have Lower Vitamin D Levels Than Others
A: People with darker skin pigmentation tend to have lower levels, as do people who use sunscreen, dont spend much time outdoors, or are overweight or obese. This is because vitamin D is fat soluble, so it gets trapped in fatty tissue and cant be used by the body as it should be. Gastrointestinal surgery, like gastric bypass, makes it difficult to absorb vitamin D. And as we age, we dont absorb vitamin D well, and we produce less.
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How To Increase Or Maintain Your Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D can be obtained through your diet, exposure to sunlight, or through a supplement.
Dietary vitamin D: Vitamin D is one vitamin that can be difficult to obtain in a healthy diet. Nutrition guidelines recommend a daily intake of 200 to 800 international units depending on your age. We hear about milk as a good source, yet at 100 IU per eight-ounce glass, this could translate to 20 glasses of milk daily for adequate prevention, an amount of milk unlikely to be healthy for many reasons. Fatty fish may also grant you some vitamin D. In other words, it’s hard for the average person to get enough vitamin D in a healthy diet, unlike nearly all other vitamins.
Sunlight as a source of vitamin D: Sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D but is dependent on your latitude, as well as your use of sunscreen. On the other hand, spending 15 minutes outside in shirtsleeves on a pleasant day could result in your body producing 5000 IU of vitamin D or more. As noted earlier, we may be trading a lower risk of skin cancer for a higher risk of more deadly cancers such as lung cancer and colon cancer by our conscientious use of sunscreen.
Should I Take A Vitamin D Supplement
There are a number of vitamin D supplements available. And while its often important to get certain nutrients from food, this rationale doesnt apply to vitamin D, according to Tan. The way we get vitamin D naturally is from UV exposure, she says. This is controversial, because UV exposure has risks as well.
To know if you need a vitamin D supplement, you first need a blood test to determine your vitamin D level. How much you might need to supplement depends on this number, says Tan. Only take a vitamin D supplement if recommended by your doctor based on the outcome of this blood test, and take only the recommended amount.
People who could be at risk for vitamin D deficiency include:
- People who live in climates with less sunlight.
- People who dont naturally get much sun exposure.
- Older populations who require more vitamin D daily.
- People with darker skin, as they dont synthesize vitamin D from the sun as easily.
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What Does Research Say About Vitamin D
Although research on vitamin D abounds, its effect on human health remains uncertain. Thats largely because the majority of vitamin D studies either are on animals or were conducted in small human populations. Most important, the majority of research on the nutrient is observational, meaning that the findings dont point to a definite cause-and-effect relationship between vitamin D and the potential health benefit being studied.
Studies that do produce likely causal results are conducted with a randomized controlled model, in which researchers eliminate the risk of bias and account for potentially conflicting factors, notes George Washington University. Large randomized controlled trials are considered the gold standard for research, and unfortunately, there havent been many on vitamin D supplementation and its various possible health benefits.
With research limitations in mind, heres an in-depth look at what vitamin D can, may, and definitely won’t do for your health.
Can Medications Cause A Vitamin D Deficiency
Yes. Vitamin D levels can be lowered by certain medications. These include:
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs .
- Seizure-control drugs .
- A tuberculosis drug .
- A weight-loss drug .
Always tell your doctor about the drugs you take and any vitamin D supplements or other supplements or herbs/alternative health products that you take.
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Can You Have Too Much Vitamin D
There is an upper limit for taking Vitamin D, and taking too much can cause complications in the body. Taking more than 4,000 IU daily can cause a condition called hypercalcaemia. Too much calcium is absorbed and builds up in the body, damaging the kidneys, heart and weakening bone. Whilst this is a rare condition, it is always good to understand that over supplementing can have adverse effects on your health. Other adverse effects of too much Vitamin D include: loss of appetite, dry mouth, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
It is also worth noting that you cannot overdose on Vitamin D from sunlight. However, I will strongly recommend that we all continue to protect our skin against environmental damage and the risk of skin cancer.
It is always better to ensure that you are eating and supplementing in such a way that it gives you a broad spread of vitamins etc. Rather than just focusing on one as a cure-all – they all work together in order to keep up healthy, so its important that youre getting everything you need. Our Vegan Multivitamin & Mineral Supplement is packed full of a range of vitamins, including Vitamin D3, Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, B12, Calcium, Iron and more, and is a great way of supporting a plant-based diet with all the essential nutrients your body needs.
Which Vitamin D Is Best For Skin
Vitamin D3 also known as cholecalciferol, is a form of vitamin D that is produced naturally in your body upon exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D3 in its activated form does all the wonders on your skin regeneration and other metabolic functions in the skin.
Vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol is a form of vitamin D from plant sources like mushrooms. Vitamin D2 has also been shown to work in a similar mechanism in the body as vitamin D3. However, both vitamin D2 and D3 needs to be activated by your body to transform into their active, functional forms.
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Lower Your Calcium Intake
The interactions between vitamin D and calcium show that you need to watch your dietary calcium while having symptoms of vitamin D toxicity. During hypervitaminosis, you should avoid eating calcium-rich foods, including dark green vegetables and most seeds. You should also be wary of many animal products. All dairy items and some fish have abundant calcium.
How Can I Help Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency
The goals of treating and preventing the lack of vitamin D of treatment and prevention are the sameto reach and keep an adequate level of vitamin D in the body. Your healthcare provider will let you know if you need to take or keep taking vitamin D supplements. If so, they will also let you know how much you should take. You might also want to consider:
Eating more foods that contain vitamin D: See the vitamin D food sources table included in this article. Keep in mind that foods alone usually don’t meet the daily recommended levels of vitamin D.
Getting some exposure to sunshinebut not too much: Exactly how much sun exposure is needed isnt clear. 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure two to three times a week to the face, arms, legs or back may be all that is needed to absorb a suitable amount of vitamin D. You might need more sun exposure if:
- You are older.
- You have a darker skin color.
- You live in northern climates.
The use of sunscreen, and standing behind a window, prevents vitamin D from being produced in the skin. However, you should remember that too much sunshine increases the risk of skin cancer and ages the skin. That is why taking an appropriately dosed D supplement is far safer than intentionally getting routine sun exposure.
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Vitamin D Boosts Weight Loss
Consider adding vitamin D supplements to your diet if youre trying to lose weight or prevent heart disease. You can find a great selection of vitamin D supplements on .
In one study, people taking a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement were able to lose more weight than subjects taking a placebo supplement. The scientists said the extra calcium and vitamin D had an appetite-suppressing effect.
In another study, overweight people who took a daily vitamin D supplement improved their heart disease risk markers.
Many factors can affect your ability to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D through the sun alone. These factors include:
- Being in an area with high pollution
- Using sunscreen
- Spending more time indoors
- Living in big cities where buildings block sunlight
- Having darker skin.
These factors contribute to vitamin D deficiency in an increasing number of people. Thats why its important to get some of your vitamin D from sources besides sunlight.
The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency in adults include:
- severe bone or muscle pain or weakness that may cause difficulty climbing stairs or getting up from the floor or a low chair, or cause you to walk with a waddling gait
- stress fractures, especially in your legs, pelvis, and hips
Doctors can diagnose a vitamin D deficiency by performing a simple blood test. If you have a deficiency, your doctor may order X-rays to check the strength of your bones.
Can Vegans Take A Vitamin D Supplement
Vegans can be more susceptible to a vitamin D deficiency. The double whammy of not getting enough sunlight during the winter months and not being able to eat most of the food sources of vitamin D can make it a little more difficult.
However, even with meat, dairy and eggs off the menu, there are still natural vegan sources of vitamin D like mushrooms for vitamin D2 and lichen for vitamin D3.
As these are limited, a vitamin D supplement is recommended. Especially for vitamin D3 as we dont think many vegans will be chowing down on some lichen!
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How Does Vitamin D Affect Your Bones
A vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis. According to the Mayo Clinic, higher doses of prednisone, an RA medication, also increase your risk for osteoporosis. This condition causes your bones to lose density and become weak, which increases your risk for bone fractures from incidents ranging from falls to bumping into objects. Talk to your doctor if you have arthritis and think you may be at risk for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis often develops without symptoms and requires a bone mineral density test for diagnosis.
What Problems Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause
Severe vitamin D deficiency can also lead to other diseases. In children, it can cause rickets. Rickets is a rare disease that causes the bones to become soft and bend. African American infants and children are at higher risk of getting rickets. In adults, severe vitamin D deficiency leads to osteomalacia. Osteomalacia causes weak bones, bone pain, and muscle weakness.
Researchers are studying vitamin D for its possible connections to several medical conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis. They need to do more research before they can understand the effects of vitamin D on these conditions.
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Foods Naturally High In Vitamin D
While there are a handful of foods fortified with vitamin D, few foods contain vitamin D naturally. Those that do are usually animal-based.
Based on the numbers above, you can consume the RDA of vitamin D by eating about 4 ounces of salmon, 13 eggs or a little over ½ a tablespoon of cod liver oil.
If you follow a vegan diet, getting vitamin D from food is going to be more difficult than if you eat animal products. So, in addition to making sure youre getting mushrooms in your diet, look for fortified plant-based milks and talk with your doctor or registered dietitian nutritionist about taking a supplement, experts suggest.
Do I Need To Take A Vitamin D Supplement When Im Pregnant
It is especially important to make sure your vitamin D levels are topped up when you are pregnant.
Not only will it help keep you healthy and your immune system healthy throughout your pregnancy, but it also plays an important role in your babys development.
A growing baby in the womb cannot make its own vitamin D, so it relies on you to have enough in your body for both of you. It allows your body to absorb calcium and phosphate to help your babys bones grow, especially in the second half of your pregnancy.
The Department of Health England recommends that pregnant women receive 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day.13
As this is difficult to obtain through diet and sunlight absorption alone, a supplement could be helpful to top levels up, especially for women who are pregnant during spring or winter and women with darker skin as they wont absorb as much sunlight.
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Health Effects Of Low Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency does not always have obvious symptoms but without treatment there can be significant health effects. These can include bone and muscle pain, and softening of the bones such as rickets and osteomalacia .
Some people are at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency, including:
- people with naturally very dark skin this is because the pigment in dark skin doesnt absorb as much UV radiation
- people who avoid the sun due to previous skin cancers, immune suppression or sensitive skin and those people who have limited sun exposure, such as nightshift workers
- people who wear covering clothing or concealing clothing
- people who spend a long time indoors such as those who are housebound or institutionalised
- people who are obese
- people who have a disability or a disease that affects vitamin D metabolism, such as end stage liver disease, renal disease and fat malabsorption syndromes such as cystic fibrosis, coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease
- people who take medication that affects vitamin D metabolism
- breast-fed babies of vitamin D deficient mothers
If you think you may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency, talk to your GP for advice. Your GP may recommend taking a vitamin D supplement.
Overexposure to UV is never recommended, even for people who have vitamin D deficiency.
Who Is At Risk Of Vitamin D Deficiency
Some people are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency:
- Breastfed infants, because human milk is a poor source of vitamin D. If you are breastfeeding, give your infant a supplement of 400 IU of vitamin D every day.
- Older adults, because your skin doesn’t make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight as efficiently as when you were young, and your kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form.
- People with dark skin, which has less ability to produce vitamin D from the sun.
- People with disorders such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease who don’t handle fat properly, because vitamin D needs fat to be absorbed.
- People who have obesity, because their body fat binds to some vitamin D and prevents it from getting into the blood.
- People with chronic kidney or liver disease.
- People with hyperparathyroidism
- People with sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, histoplasmosis, or other granulomatous disease
- People with some lymphomas, a type of cancer.
- People who take medicines that affect vitamin D metabolism, such as cholestyramine , anti-seizure drugs, glucocorticoids, antifungal drugs, and HIV/AIDS medicines.
Talk with your health care provider if you are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. There is a blood test which can measure how much vitamin D is in your body.
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