Friday, 20 March 2015

The Importance of Vitamin D to Young People

My eldest daughter has recently suffered from some frightening episodes of extreme heart palpitations.  At first she thought it could be panic attacks, but as she is not an anxious person, this seemed unlikely. The GP sent her for a barage of tests including 24 hour heart monitoring and extensive blood tests. The blood test results showed that she was extremely deficient in vitamin D and a heart arrhythmia was diagnosed.

Some recent research suggests that vitamin D deficiency is a factor in cardiovascular disease and many young adults, because of their lifestyles are becoming at risk of the deficiency and its associated health risks. Thankfully, after a strong dose of Vitamin D supplements over the course of a few months, my daughter's condition was reversed with no lasting side effects, and she is now back to full health. It was a very scary time for us all and I'm so glad that no long term damage has been done.

Her condition made me very aware of the need for the correct RDA of vitamins and minerals in our diets. I do a lot of research to make sure that my family have nutritious and well balanced meals. Being vegetarian makes me work harder to provide all the necessary food groups and we, on a whole, eat extremely well. But, after my eldest daughter's experience, I want to feel completely confident that my younger children are getting all the nutrients they need, especially when it comes to vitamin D.

Vitamin D is a nutrient that is found in fortified cereals, dairy products and milk alternatives, eggs and mushrooms (these are just the vegetarian sources). It is also made in the body through exposure to the sun, making it dubbed 'the sunshine vitamin'.

Children used to play out in the sunshine all day long when I was a child, but nowadays, children spend much more time in the home. If they do go outside, we sensibly and quite rightly slather sunblock over them to protect their skin from the harmful UV rays, but in doing so, we also prevent them from producing vitamin D in their bodies. Facial make-up now comes with its own SPF so adults are also minimising their vitamin D production by being sun safe.  It is a catch 22 situation! The British weather allows vitamin D production from April through to September, meaning during the other months when we may go sun cream free, we simply don't get enough sunlight anyway.

Vitamin D is essential for the growth of strong bones and teeth. Under 5's are the group that are at most risk of vitamin D insufficiency with the average child getting just 27% of their RDA.  This can lead to health issues including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and even rickets.

One way to ensure that children get the right daily dose of vitamin D is through giving them an age appropriate supplement. Multi-vitamins often contain all the necessary vitamins a child needs or you can use a specific vitamin D product according to your child's age, such as KID_D_VIT from Health Plus, which contains 400iu of vitamin D3 in each daily dose.

vitamin d deficiency, vitamin d in kids

  • Vitamin D is crucial for the proper absorption of Calcium and Potassium.
  • Aids the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
  • Helps to maintain proper neuro-muscular function
  • Recommended by The Chief Medical Officer and The Department of Health, for all young children upwards
  • It is suitable for children aged 5 and up.
At just £3.45 for a bottle of sixty tablets it is a small price to pay for peace of mind.  I've been sent a bottle to try and intend on giving them to Kezia and Freddy as part of their daily routine.


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