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
Check Your Supplements More Isnt Always Better
For Portlanders, moderate deficiency in the sunshine vitamin is about as common as a cloudy day. Since we cant get the daily sun exposure needed to synthesize our own vitamin D year-round, many of us pop a supplement to keep our levels in check and in most cases, thats a good thing. But in some cases, we could be taking too much and that can be a problem.
You need vitamin D to help you absorb calcium, among other benefits. But extra high blood levels of vitamin D may encourage your body to stash extra calcium where its not wanted in your kidneys, for example, which is why high levels of vitamin D make you more vulnerable to kidney stones. Calcium deposits in the arteries are another potential concern. High vitamin D levels also can cause nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, confusion, loss of appetite, dehydration and frequent urination.
When people have too much vitamin D in their blood, its almost always caused by over-use of dietary supplements. That doesnt mean you should stop taking vitamin D altogether, but do take a closer look at how much youre taking to make sure youre not overdoing it.
Enough vs. too much where do you draw the line?
The recommendations may vary depending on your age, health, ethnicity and even whom you ask. But as a general guideline, the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements recommends getting 15 mcg of vitamin D daily from the age of 1 through 70, and 20 mcg from age 71 on.
Two ways we get into trouble
How Is Vitamin D Taken
The recommended daily allowance for Vitamin D is currently set at 400800 IU/day, but this is too low for adults. For moderate supplementation, a 1,0002,000 IU dose of vitamin D3 is sufficient to meet the needs of most of the population. Higher daily doses are in the range of 2080 IU per kilogram of body weight.
TheUpper Tolerable Intake Level in the United States and Canada is 4,000 IU per day . Its been suggested that the true Upper Tolerable Intake Level may actually be as high as 10,000 IU/day, but there are limited data on health outcomes using doses near this amount.
Vitamin D3 supplementation is recommended over D2 supplementation because D3 tends to raise blood levels more effectively.
Vitamin D should be taken daily, with meals or a source of fat.
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Supplements : Vitamin D
Vitamin D is involved in many of your bodys functions. There are two forms in the diet, D2 and D3. It can also be produced in your skin when exposed to sunlight.
Vitamin D deficiency is a problem all over the world.
However, its pervasive in young women, infants, older adults, and people who have dark skin .
About 42% of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient. However, this rate rises to 82% in Black people and 70% in Hispanics, which systemic problems likely play a role in .
If you have access to strong sun all year, then occasional sun exposure may be enough to fulfill your vitamin D requirements.
However, if you live far north or south of the equator, your vitamin D levels may fluctuate depending on the season. The levels may go down during the winter months due to a lack of sufficient sunlight .
In that case, you may need to rely on your diet for vitamin D as well as on vitamin D thats stored in body fat (
- intensify bone loss
- increase the risk of fractures
In children, a severe vitamin D deficiency can cause delays in growth and rickets, a disease where the bones become soft.
Furthermore, vitamin D deficiency is linked with several cancers, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, and thyroid problems .
Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent worldwide but occurs at higher rates in specific populations. A deficiency in vitamin D is linked to various health problems.
How much vitamin D you need depends on many factors. These include:
Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency
While accepted lab values can differ, generally a blood test revealing 30 ng/mL or higher of vitamin D in the bloodstream is considered normal, 20.0 to 29.9 ng/mL is a vitamin D insufficiency, and less than 20 mg/mL is a vitamin D deficiency. Although there is some dispute among researchers about their validity, studies have shown that anywhere from 10% to more than 40% of the population have levels of vitamin D that are below normal.
While anyone can be low in this crucial vitamin, some groups are likelier to be deficient in vitamin D.
Older adults: Mature skin does not synthesize the vitamin as effectively.
Darker skin tones: Higher levels of melanin in the skin make it less able to produce vitamin D.
Breastfeeding babies: Human milk does not have sufficient levels of vitamin D unless the mother takes a supplement.
Obese individuals: Excess fat binds to the vitamin and prevents it from circulating in the bloodstream.
IBS or other intestinal diseases: People who suffer from intestinal diseases are less able to metabolize fat, which is required to absorb sufficient vitamin D.
Lack of sun exposure: People who rarely go outside, or cover up heavily when they do so, do not get the sun exposure required to create vitamin D.
Location: Those who live far north or far south of the equator have less exposure to sunshine.
“Your doctor can diagnose a vitamin D deficiency with a simple blood test.”
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What Foods Provide Calcium
Calcium is found in many foods. You can get recommended amounts of calcium by eating a variety of foods, including the following:
- Milk and milk alternatives such as yogurt, cheese, and fortified plant-based beverages
- Dark green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and spinach
- Fish with soft bones that are eaten, such as canned salmon or sardines.
How Can I Make Sure My Child Is Getting Enough Vitamin D
Your childs age matters when it comes to cows milk. For children older than 12 months, plain whole cows milk is a great source of vitamin D.
Most cows milk sold in stores is fortified with vitamin D. For babies younger than 12 months, cows milk is not recommended because it may put your baby at risk for intestinal bleeding. It also has too many proteins and minerals for your babys kidneys to handle easily and does not have the right amount of nutrients your baby needs.
For babies who are fed onlybreast milk or who receive both breast milk and infant formula:
- Breast milk usually does not provide all the vitamin D a baby needs, so breastfed babies will need a supplement of 400 IU of vitamin D per day beginning shortly after birth.
For babies who are receiving onlyinfant formula:
- Vitamin D supplementation is not needed.
- Infant formulas are fortified with vitamin D.
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Foods That Are Bad For Your Bones
Ideally, you never want to exceed 4,000 IU per day, Clifford says. Too much vitamin D can lead to anorexia, weight loss, irregular heartbeats, and excessive urination.
It gets more serious when you end up with excess calcium absorption, which puts your heart, kidneys, and blood vessels at risk.
Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity include:
- Loss of appetite
Vitamin D Supplements: What Parents Should Know
Getting enough vitamin D is essential so kids bones can grow strong and their immune systems can ward off illness.
Vitamin D gets into the body through absorption of sunlight and ingestion of food. From April through the end of October, spending just 15 to 30 minutes outside in the middle of the day with hands and face exposed will stimulate the skin to make all the vitamin D your child needs. In fact, on a sunny summer day, a child wearing a bathing suit can generate 10,000 to 20,000 international units of vitamin D after 15 to 30 minutes. In a neat biological trick, a persons body cant overdose on vitamin D created by the sun.
Foods such as salmon, sardines, tuna, cod liver oil, egg yolks and shiitake mushrooms contain a lot of vitamin D. Many kids dont seem to love these vitamin D superfoods, so luckily store-bought milk is often fortified with vitamin D, as are many cereals and even orange juice. Not all dairy products are fortified with vitamin D, however, so make sure to read the labels.
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When Vitamin D Supplements Are Helpful
During the fall and winter, when the suns rays arent at an angle that will produce vitamin D in the skin, its good to give your child a vitamin. Most over-the-counter childrens vitamins contain 600 IU of vitamin D, which is the recommended daily allowance set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for kids 1 year old and older.
Children who are obese, who have dark skin, who rarely go outside or who wear clothing that covers most of their skin may need supplements to ensure they have adequate levels of vitamin D all year round. Some medications, such as anticonvulsants, as well as over-the-counter health aids like St. Johns Wort, can interfere with the way our bodies metabolize vitamin D. Certain conditions, such as celiac disease, can also interfere with absorption of vitamin D. Discuss your childs medical history and lifestyle with your pediatrician, and make sure to them about any medicine or herbal supplements your child takes. Your pediatrician can then determine your childs daily vitamin D requirement.
There are risks if kids take in too much vitamin D from supplements and food, including an increased chance of developing kidney stones. Parents need to calculate the amount of vitamin D their child gets from fortified milk, other food, and vitamin supplements to make sure the total amount does not exceed:
- 1,000 to 1,500 IU a day for infants
- 2,500 to 3,000 IU a day for children 1 to 8 years old
- 4,000 IU a day for children 9 years and older
Advice For Adults And Children Over 4 Years Old
During the autumn and winter, you need to get vitamin D from your diet because the sun is not strong enough for the body to make vitamin D.
But since it’s difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone, everyone should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter.
Between late March/early April to the end of September, most people can make all the vitamin D they need through sunlight on their skin and from a balanced diet.
You may choose not to take a vitamin D supplement during these months.
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Two Types Of Vitamin D
There are two basic types of vitamin D used in supplements.
Vitamin D2 is the form of vitamin D synthesized by plants, not animals. Its generally obtained from irradiated mushrooms for use in supplements. Youll often find less expensive vitamin D supplements containing the D2 form.
Vitamin D3 is the form of the vitamin your body naturally produces when exposed to sunshine. Vitamin D3 is generally obtained from lambs wool for use in supplements. While studies have shown that both D2 and D3 can raise blood levels of vitamin D to healthy levels, they have also shown that D3 does a far better jobmaintaining those levels than D2. For this reason, most nutritionists and other health experts recommend taking a vitamin D supplement containing D3.
What Were The Conclusions About The Relationship Of Calcium And Vitamin D To Chronic Disease
The IOM expert committee reviewed a number of health outcomes that could potentially be related to calcium and vitamin D, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and immunity, and found that the evidence existing to date is inconsistent and does not demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship. Consequently, these health outcomes could not be used for the purposes of determining nutrient requirements.
The evidence surrounding the role of calcium and vitamin D in bone health was judged to be convincing, and was used as the basis for determining requirements for calcium and vitamin D.
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Q: Why Is Vitamin D Important
A: Research I have done in this area has found that people with low blood levels of vitamin D have a greater risk of a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, diabetes or high blood pressure later in life. In pregnant women, low vitamin D levels are linked to pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and adverse pregnancy outcomes. No matter your age or stage of life, having adequate vitamin D levels is important.
How Much Is Too Much Vitamin D
Overdosing on vitamin D is hard to doin 2010, the IOM defined the safe upper limit for vitamin D consumption as 4,000 IU per day.
If you are very deficient in vitamin D, your doctor may suggest a supplement with more than 4,000 IU per day for a short period of time to boost your level quickly. This should be monitored closely with follow-up blood tests to ensure the level of vitamin D circulating in your blood doesnt reach toxic levels, says Marchand.
Signs of vitamin D toxicity, which is rare, include nausea, vomiting, a metallic taste in your mouth, headaches and body aches. It can also lead to pancreatitis and calcification in the kidneys and blood vessels.
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Effect Size And Basic Statistical Principles
Though it appears attractive to dismiss any relevant effect of vitamin D on all the conditions that have been studied in those partly very large trials in recent years, it must be considered that often the basic principles for optimal design of a nutrient intervention study were not fulfilled , e.g., measurement of vitamin D at baseline and choosing vitamin D deficiency as an inclusion criterion, using a meaningful intervention able to change vitamin D status, and verification of vitamin D status improvement by repeat measurement.
Moreover, even in the largest trials including thousands of individuals, the sample size was still too small when mostly individuals without vitamin D deficiency and a low baseline risk were included. By modeling future intervention trials, Brenner et al. reported that several hundreds of thousands of participants would be necessary to be able to show an effect on mortality .
On the other hand, even a very small effect may be useful for a substance with such an excellent safety profile and low cost, especially when considering a public health approach. However, to show a small, but meaningful benefit on important outcomes like mortality or infections, very large population samples are needed, but such trials are very costly and will likely be scant.
How Much Vitamin D Should You Take For Optimal Health
Vitamin D is essential for good health.
Its often referred to as the sunshine vitamin and is made in your skin when exposed to sunlight.
Despite that, vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world.
Up to 42% of the American adult population has low vitamin D levels, which can cause health problems (
Vitamin D is crucial for bone health and immune system function.
This article discusses how much vitamin D you need.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin thats involved in many essential body functions.
There are two forms of vitamin D in the diet and supplements:
- Vitamin D2 : found in some mushrooms.
- Vitamin D3 : found in oily fish, fish liver oil, and egg yolks.
D3 is the more powerful of the two types and raises vitamin D levels almost twice as much as D2 .
Significant amounts of vitamin D can also be made in your skin when exposed to UV rays from sunlight. Any excess vitamin D is stored in your body fat for later use.
Almost every cell in your body has a receptor for vitamin D. Its essential to many processes, including bone health, immune system function, and can help protect against cancer (
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Will I Know Right Away If I Took Too Much D3
It can take weeks or even months for symptoms of vitamin D toxicity to develop. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, stop taking your supplement and call your doctor immediately.
Your doctor will likely order a blood test to check your vitamin D levels. They may also recommend other tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need
Despite widespread assertions in the popular and scientific press that many Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, the term “deficiency” isn’t strictly accurate. The official definition of a vitamin deficiency means that specific health problems stem solely from the lack of a specific nutrient. An actual vitamin D deficiency results in bone disease, such as rickets, which is rare in the United States.
On the other hand, lower-than-optimal levels of specific vitamins, including vitamin D, may increase your risk of numerous health problems, even though they are not solely responsible for these problems. “Insufficiency” may be a better term for these lower levels than “vitamin D deficiency”.
So far, the most clearly established benefit of vitamin D is that it helps the body absorb calcium and therefore promotes healthy bones. However, a steady drumbeat of studies beginning in the 1980s started to build a case that low blood levels of D were connected with a variety of chronic health problems, leading to claims by a number of researchers that the RDA for D was way too low. The confusion and controversy surrounding optimal vitamin D intake and blood values prompted the U.S. and Canadian governments to request that the Institute of Medicine review the evidence on vitamin D and calcium and update the DRIs.
To learn more about the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy, read , a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
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