As an adult, you may have taken a Vitamin D supplement before, but what about Vitamin D for babies? Here's what you need to know about Vitamin D, how it affects your baby's bone health, and why you should maybe consider a Vitamin D supplement for your little one.
What is Vitamin D?Vitamin D is a hormone the human body synthesizes via direct skin exposure to sunlight. It’s commonly known as the sunshine vitamin for this reason. A hormone is an essential chemical produced by the body that acts as a “messenger” in the blood. It sets off a complex cascade of reactions in order to make the body function properly. Some other examples of important hormones the body produces are thyroid, estrogen and progesterone.
Why is Vitamin D important for baby's bone health?Vitamin D plays many roles in the body. Most importantly, it acts as a “messenger” in signaling the body when it needs to absorb more calcium for proper bone mineralization. Without adequate blood levels, bones can become weakened, soft and deficient in calcium, leading to a condition known as rickets. Therefore, it’s important to have enough Vitamin D to keep those bones strong!
What other roles does Vitamin D play?Research also suggests adequate Vitamin D levels are important in the prevention of many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, mental health issues, autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis and a host of other diseases.
How else can you obtain Vitamin D besides sunshine?Vitamin D doesn't just have to come from sunlight. It can also be obtained from our diet either by eating certain foods or by taking supplements. Some examples of food sources containing vitamin D are fish, oils, egg yolks, and fortified foods.
Does my baby need a Vitamin D supplement?There are a few important reasons Vitamin D supplements are recommended for your baby. The most obvious reason is that infants are kept out of direct sunlight for the first several months of life, which prevents their natural ability to make their own Vitamin D. Also, although breast milk has a very bioavailable form of Vitamin D, it’s levels are low, unlike formula, which is fortified with Vitamin D. Therefore, the AAP recommends at least 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D be given to your newborn shortly after birth if breastfed. In order for your growing baby to obtain an adequate amount of Vitamin D from formula, they have to consume at least 32 ounces of formula daily. Therefore, you should consider a Vitamin D supplement for your infant if they are both breastfed and formula-fed. Also, if they are formula-fed but are not consuming the recommended 32 ounces every day, you should consider a supplement. Once solids are introduced, a Vitamin D supplement should still be considered in order to obtain the recommended daily amount. Also, at a certain age (typically 6 months and older) your healthcare provider will recommend the use of sunscreen for your baby for prolonged sun exposure. However, keep in mind that sunscreen, although essential, does adversely impact our body’s ability to make Vitamin D. As for supplements, Wellements Organic Vitamin D Drops are certified organic and preservative-free and also contain D3 (cholecalciferol), which is the active form of Vitamin D. This allows the body to use it most efficiently and effectively. Just one drop daily provides the recommended 400 IU to meet your growing baby's needs. Also, moms who are breastfeeding can safely continue taking their prenatal vitamins, which also contain Vitamin D.
Can you consume too much Vitamin D?It is important to remember that Vitamin D can be toxic if over-consumed. It is known as a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning the body stores the excess and has a hard time eliminating it. Therefore, as with all supplements, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider when you are considering giving them to your child or taking them yourself. Do you have any other questions about Vitamin D that we didn’t cover in this post? Comment below!
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