Hi everyone! It’s almost the weekend, and that makes me happy . So far my week has been pretty good. We’ve been sticking to our menu plan for the most part, but we did get a nice surprise one night. My sister-in-law came in town and asked if I minded if she cooked for us. Not at all! She made a corn, black bean, and corn salsa with avocado. We ate it in tortillas with turkey sausage and some Mexican rice on the side. It was yummy!
So, have you heard the buzz on vitamin D? It seems as though it’s a hot topic. Along with calcium, it’s always been linked to good bone health, but more and more research is showing that it is linked to much more.
Vitamin D is a bit of an exception because unlike all the other vitamins, we can actually make vitamin D. In fact, we make it when we’re exposed to the sun. This may be a problem, however, for newborns and young children who shouldn’t be exposed to the sun for long periods of time. And with the recommendation to wear sunscreen in order to prevent skin damage, our exposure to the sun has decreased. Other factors play a role in vitamin D production as well such as skin color, location where you live, and even the amount of air pollution.
You may have heard or rickets before…or maybe not. It doesn’t seem as popular as it once was. But it’s a vitamin D deficiency in kids and can cause damage to the bones. Although this condition isn’t necessarily common, inadequate vitamin D intake does play a role in several other conditions such as type 1 diabetes, respiratory infections, heart disease, and even types of cancer.
Because of the concern for vitamin D deficiency, recommendations for infants have changed. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that all infants get in 400 IU/day of vitamin D within the first few days of life. This is different from the previous recommendation (200 IU within the first 2 months). Even I had a problem with this recommendation. I thought, “My breastmilk is fine. I’m fully breastfeeding, and my milk is made with the right amount of nutrients.” But as I said before, a young infant won’t be in the sun very much, and breastmilk only contains between 25-75 IU of vitamin D per liter.
Fully breastfed infants should start on a vitamin supplement. Formula contains more vitamin D that breastmilk, however an infant has to drink ~1 liter of formula each day to meet the recommendation. That’s about 33 oz, and newborns don’t usually drink that much.
Vitamin D continues to be an important nutrient while growing up as well. Foods that are high in vitamin D include:
- Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
- Dairy products such as milk, cheese, fortified milk, cream, and butter
- Fortified breakfast cereals
Don’t forget about this important nutrient! Pay attention to the recommendation, and discuss with your child’s doctor if you have questions about a supplement. Although the AAP makes this recommendation, many doctors are still slacking up on asking about it. Be proactive!
Also keep in mind that vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, which means that our bodies store it when we take in too much. It is possible to take in too much vitamin D, but keep in mind that it will be from supplements. It’s almost impossible to get vitamin D toxicity from eating foods high in this nutrient.As always, keep vitamins and supplements away from children.
I hope everyone has a great night and weekend!
Thanks for reading!