In November 2008 the American Academy of Pediatricians recommended doubling to 400IU their previous recommendation of 200IU for all infants, children and adolescents.
Rickets in infants has long been attributable to inadequate vitamin D intake and decreased exposure to sunlight and the condition continues to be reported in the United States. There are also concerns for Vitamin D deficiency in older children and adolescents.
There are limited natural dietary sources of Vitamin D and exposure to sufficient quantities of sunshine is rarely achieved in modern life styles. To ensure that all babies, children and adolescents receive adequate vitamin D the recommenations have been revised to 400IU per day. (this includes breast-fed babies as breast milk usually contains little Vitamin D)
It is now recommended that all infants and children, including adolescents, have a minimum daily intake of 400 IU of vitamin D beginning soon after birth.
These revised guidelines for Vitamin D intake for healthy infants, children and adolescents are based on evidence from new clinical trials and the historical precedence of safely giving 400 IU of Vitamin D per day in the pediatric and adolescent population.
New evidence supports a potential role for vitamin D in maintaining innate immunity and preventing diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
The Canadian Pediatric Society also recently increased its recommendations. They also advise that babies who are exclusively breast fed receive a supplement of 400IU per day and for babies living above 55 degrees North should get twice that amount during winter months. (Press Release)
Summary of findings in children
- Infants given vitamin D supplements for the first year of life demonstrated an 80% reduction in the occurrence of diabetes later in life (103)
- Also children who were found to have rickets and were vitamin D deficient had a four -fold increased risk of developing diabetes later in life. (103)
- Children receiving Vitamin D supplements have a lower number of dental cavities. (119-130)
- Babies born to mothers with inadequate levels of vitamin D have higher rates of enamel hypoplasia and early signs of dental cavities than those born to women with higher levels of vitamin D. (142)
- The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends that women who are pregnant or breast feeding should increase their Vitamin D intake to 2000IU per day.This advice is based on the growing body of evidence that increased exposure to Vitamin D during key points of fetal and infant development may offer protection against many diseases, including asthma, osteoporosis, dental cavities and inflammatory bowel disease. (Press Release)
- at least two studies have suggested that the incidence of prostate cancer is reduced as much as 50% in men who were born in areas of high sun exposure which implies that high levels of Vitamin D in early life confers a long lasting anti-cancer effect. (138, 139)
- Individuals with low levels of Vitamin D are 40% more likely to suffer upper respiratory tract infections. (coughs and colds)(140)
- Children aged 12 to 19 with the lowest levels of vitamin D (less than 15 nanograms per milliliter) were more than twice as likely to have high blood pressure and blood sugar, and nearly four times as likely to have metabolic syndrome as those with the highest amounts (more than 26 nanograms per milliliter), according to research presented yesterday at the American Heart Association Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention in Palm Harbor, Fla. Levels of 30 nanograms per milliliter are considered sufficient. The results are based on 3,577 teens who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted between 2001 and 2004.(March 12, 2009)
Autism and Vitamin D Deficiency
- There is substantial evidence that autism may be caused by Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and early development.
- Falling levels of Vitamin D over the last 20 years match the increase in incidence of autism (159, 160) which coincides with when the AMA in 1989, first started to advise keeping infants out of the sun. (161)
- Estrogen stimulates the activation of Vitamin D where as testosterone does not. This may explain why autism is four times as common in males compared to females. (162)
- Autism is much more common in black races living in Northern areas. The incidence of autism in Ugandans living in Sweden is 15% of births. (163) Deeply pigmented people living in Northern regions are inevitability Vitamin D deficient.
- Vitamin D has been shown to be essential for normal brain development (164)
- In a rare condition known as Williams Syndrome children have greatly elevated levels of Vitamin D. This conditions presents later in life with overfriendliness, heightened sociability and an unusual willingness to initiate social interaction. These are exactly opposite to the signs of Autism. (165)
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