Sunshine Vitamin: crucial to bone and teeth health in children
Created by Tanuja Sodhi Updated on Nov 08, 2013
It’s also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and if your child’s been shying away from sunshine, skipping that healthful glass of milk every morning and is a pure vegetarian to top it all, it is about time that the proparent in you swings into action! The scare is real and indubitable since urban children are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.
In children, adequate vitamin D levels are crucial for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, and to guard against delayed motor development. A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to rickets (which is responsible for bone deformities), weakened immune system and weakened muscles and bones.
Now, we might want to question the veracity of this statement as we have been wired to believe that it is calcium that safeguards our bones. While calcium is the guardian angel of our bones, it is vitamin D that helps our body to absorb calcium.
So, how do we get this ‘much sought-after’ nutrient?
A. Sunshine: It is the best source of vitamin D. When the sun's UV rays penetrate our skin, the body responds by producing vitamin D. We get about 80% of our vitamin D in this manner. Your little one may be at risk of deficiency if he/she is a home body glued to gadgets. About 20 minutes of sunshine (unfiltered by sunscreen) per day is all that is needed to replenish vitamin D.
B. Diet: Vitamin D also occurs naturally in a few foods like cod liver oil, some fish, some fortified foods, etc. You need to be extra careful if your child is a strict vegetarian.
C. Supplements: Vitamin D can also be consumed as a supplement. This specially comes to the rescue of the vegetarians, since most of the vitamin D food sources are non-vegetarian. However, one should always consult a physician before taking the supplements.
Good food sources of vitamin D
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is:
• For infants aged 0-12 months, the upper limit is 1,000 international units (IU) daily.
• For everyone aged 1-70, the recommended value is 600 IU daily.
1) Cod Liver Oil: Cod liver oil naturally contains very high levels of vitamin D. One serving of this oil (1 tbsp) gives about 1360 IU of vitamin D which is around 340% of the Recommended Daily Value per day.
2) Fish: Fatty fish are considered the best food sources of vitamin D, especially herring, catfish, salmon, trout and halibut. One serving of any of the above offers 650 IU to 2200 IU of vitamin D, or 90% to more than 100 percent of the Recommended Daily Value.
3) Eggs: One large egg (vitamin D is in the yolk) has 20 IU or 6% of the Recommended Daily Value.
4) Mushrooms: Mushrooms have a significant amount of Vitamin D, but the amount varies widely by type. 1 cup of sliced white mushrooms offers 164 IU vitamin D. Shiitake mushrooms have 45 IU or 7.5% of the Recommended Daily Value.
5) Fortified Milk: A cup serving of vitamin D fortified cow's milk provides 100 IU of vitamin D, or almost 25 % of the DV.
6) Fortified Soy Products (Tofu and Soy Milk):Fortified Tofu can provide up to 157IU (39% DV) of vitamin D per 100 gram serving. Fortified Soy Milk can provide up to 49IU (12% DV) of vitamin D per 100 gram serving.
7) Fortified Cereals:Fortified cereals can provide up to 40-50 IU or 10% of the Recommended Daily Value or even more if combined with fortified dairy products.
8) Fortified Orange Juice:One cup of orange juice (fortified with vitamin D) offers 100 IU of vitamin D.
• (The above mentioned values are only an approximation to help you get an idea about the DVs).
So, if you wish your young ones to have well-developed bones and teeth, a strong immune system and muscles: Remember to follow the sun-soaking ritual, the vitamin D rich diet and the supplements as recommended by your physician. Rest assured that these would help you retain the sunshine in your child’s health!
| Aug 27, 2015
Very informative and aplicable suggestion
| Aug 18, 2015
A glass full of milk everyday is a waste if your child is deficient in Vitamin D! It is Vitamin D that helps calcium to absorb in bones. So if a child is having right amount of Vitamin D then probably it will help in making bones stronger as they say - "Doodh piyoge to bones strong ho jayengi!"
| Aug 06, 2015
| Jul 30, 2015
I don't think any other foods contain Vitamin D.
| Feb 28, 2014
yes we r also vegetarian. please suggest some more cereals and vegetables.
| Jan 27, 2014
Useful piece of information. But please suggest some more cereals/ vegetables/ fruits which is rich in vitamin D. We are pure vegetarian and dont eat eggs and also mushrooms too