To Your Health
June, 2023 (Vol. 17, Issue 06)
Kids Need Vitamin D
By Editorial Staff
Two big reasons why vitamin D supplementation may be critical during your child's first few years: They might not be getting enough as past generations due to increasingly more time spent indoors, occupied with smartphones, video games and other electronic devices; and results of new research suggests higher levels may reduce the odds that they experience psychiatric issues by age 6.
Let's see what the new research suggests and why a conversation with your doctor about your young child's vitamin D status can't hurt.
Researchers investigated the impact of high-dose (1,200 IU) vs. standard-dose (400 IU) vitamin D3 supplementation during children's first two years on the risk of developing psychiatric symptoms (internalizing and/or externalizing) at ages 6-8. Infants were randomized to receive either standard-dose or high-dose supplementation from ages 2 weeks to 24 months. (Examples of "internalizing" behaviors include depression, anxiety, emotional symptoms, social withdrawal, etc.; examples of "externalizing" behaviors include tantrums, verbal aggression, kicking or biting, etc.)
Only 5.6% of children who received 1,200 IU of D3 experienced clinically significant internalizing problems, compared with 11.8% of children who received the standard dose (400 IU). Differences in externalizing problems were not significant between groups.
Is your young child getting enough vitamin D? For that matter, if you have a child of any age, are they getting enough? The first, easiest step to ensure they get enough: Don't keep them locked up in the house all day, every day. Sunlight is the most readily available source of vitamin D, and as long as they don't overdo it (i.e., get sunburned), they'll reap the benefits (which go beyond vitamin D). The second step: Make sure they're eating foods that are high in vitamin D or have been supplemented with D. Add vitamin D to the conversation when you talk to your doctor about the health of your young child.