About 1 billion people globally have vitamin D deficiency, including babies and kids; it is a public health concern in undeveloped and developed countries. The lack of the critical nutrient can lead to a weakened immune response, developmental troubles, and mental health problems. With quick and proper treatment, doctors can help parents avoid deficiencies, ensuring the best chances for their children's health and well-being.
Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of the signs and symptoms of vitamin deficiency, which often leads to delayed care. Still, deficiencies are correctable issues in most cases, and by knowing what to watch for, you can ensure your child receives proper nutrition.
Vitamin D is a critical nutrient essential for every life stage, from infancy through old age. The vitamin ensures optimal phosphorus and calcium levels as well as plays a crucial role in several core biological functions, such as:
- Bone mineralization
- Immune cell development
- Inflammatory protein regulation
Vitamin D is especially crucial to infant and child bone growth and development. That said, infants and children have different nutritional needs.
In most cases, children should take the same required doses of vitamin D as teens, adults, and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. Infants do not have the same requirements.
For infants, you may notice labels that use the abbreviation AI instead of RDA or DI. The AI stands for adequate intake and is currently used because of insufficient evidence for a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) or daily intake (DI).
Insufficient evidence is not the same as saying infants don't need vitamin D; they very much do. The phrase only means they cannot conclusively state a required intake. However, the evidence still points to necessity and a minimal dose, 400 IU (10 mcg) compared to 600 IU (15 mcg) for everyone else.
Vitamin D Deficiency in Babies & Kids
Some little ones are more at risk of vitamin D deficiency than others. Many factors affect vitamin D levels, including sunlight exposure, skin color, and body weight.
One of the primary ways people get vitamin D is through sun exposure. Because infants often lack direct sun exposure during the first stages of life, they need supplementation, like Wellements Vitamin D Drops. Still, some older children may also benefit from dietary supplements because they live in colder climates where cloud cover can limit direct sun exposure.
Children with darker skin tones may need up to 15 times more sun exposure to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. Unfortunately, because of the increased needs, many darker complexions result in deficiencies. Also, higher levels of body fat can increase the risks of deficiency.
Vitamin D Deficiency Signs To Look Out For
While there are likely over 14 signs of vitamin D deficiency to look out for, it is challenging for parents or caregivers to detect the warning signs until they result from significant shortcomings. Two of the most common signs in children are irritability and lethargy.
If you notice your little one sleeping longer than normal or throwing fits more than usual, you may want to take them in for a blood test to determine the underlying causes. Again, it is hard to notice such changes, especially in infants, so routine checkups are essential.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms To Watch Out For
When infants and children have significant vitamin D deficiency symptoms, it is a little more apparent that something is the matter. Babies with significant deficits may experience the following:
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Growth failure
- Muscle weakness
While similar symptoms persist in children, they may also differ slightly. For example, children with significant deficits may experience:
- Slow growth
- Developmental delays
- Muscle pain
- Bone fractures
Vitamin D deficiency is unfortunately common around the world. You can help your little ones get the nutritional support they need by following routine medical checkups and providing daily Wellements vitamins to supplement balanced diets.