Vitamin D Deficiency – Linked to Longer Illness, More Colds in Kids
Two reports show the importance of vitamin D to children’s health. Read on for the research summaries.
Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Longer Hospital Stays, More Severe Illness in Kids
Researchers are releasing two formal studies next month that show a link between a vitamin D deficiency and critically ill children. Here’s what the preliminary studies suggest:
In one study, the researchers found that about 40% of kids screened were deficient and that the deficiency “was associated with more severe illness on admission to the hospital.”
In the other study, nearly 70% of minor patients were deficient and the deficiency was linked to longer hospital confinement and illness.
More Winter Colds May Be Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency
A team of researchers went to one of the coldest areas of the world to study the effects of vitamin D on colds in children. Their research (published in Pediatrics) showed that children who received vitamin D supplements for deficiency caught half as many colds.
Until now, observational studies have linked lower vitamin D levels with the risk of more colds, says a report in the LA Times.
However, the research team led by Dr. Carlos A Carmargo, Jr. from Massachusetts General Hospital, showed a link between climate, vitamin D and colds as part of the Blue Sky Study. The study which took place in Mongolia, due to a high latitude and cold climate, suggests that children who do not get much outside time can be deficient in vitamin D.
The subjects of the study had an average of 7 ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter) blood concentration of vitamin D. Anything below 20 is considered deficient. Half the children received unfortified milk and the other half received milk fortified with 300 IU of vitamin D daily.
At the end of three months, the children who received the extra vitamin D averaged 19 ng/ml. Additionally, the kids who got the supplements had 50% fewer colds as reported by their parents.
Putting Vitamin D & Sunshine Exposure in Perspective
Research in the area of vitamin D for children is an area of focus as more reports show that kids are spending more time indoors than out. Sunlight is important to helping the body produce enough vitamin D for health.
How Much Vitamin D for Kids?
The Institute of Medicine says they need 600 IU of vitamin D and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 400 IU of the vitamin. Much of the vitamin D is available in the foods kids love – cheese, milk, yogurt, fish and eggs. However, vitamin D supplementation for kids is recommended to avoid deficiency.
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