This week I have been hearing lots about the increase in the daily recommended amount of vitamin D for babies, children and teens. I first wrote over at Non-Toxic Kids about a few choices of natural mutivitamins for kids, spurred by an appointment with my health care provider.
She gave me an article about how vitamin D is important for developing bodies, and that scientists have underestimated its ability to prevent cancer, diabeties, heart disease and to help children develop a strong bone structure.
I went out that day and bought vitamin D supplements myself, and some natural multi-vitamins for my girls. I breastfed both without giving them any vitamin supplements, and I wish I had known about vitamin D’s importance when my girls were infants.
Then in a matter of days, vitamin D is all over the news. The New York Times reported the doubling of the recommended intake from 200 units to 400 units, as did Time magazine and MSN. To meet this requirement, parents need to give their kids a supplement, and take note of the amount of vitamin D in it. When I was selecting a multi-vitamin for my girls, I noticed several natural versions did not have enough vitamin D to help them meet the this new daily requirement. So make sure to read the label before you decide.
Of course, the best way to get vitamin D is to get it from the sun. Living here in the Northeast, even though we are very active outdoors, we simply don’t get enough. Not with two very fair girls who burn easily, anyway (lots of sunscreen required) and many, many cloudy, snowy, stormy days. For ways to bring more sunshine and vitamin D into your child’s (and your!) day, read this post. Reenita also gives us encouragement to use the “old school” method for getting vitamin D in this post.
Here are some guidelines for how much sun is needed, but with a caution about too much sun and skin cancer (from MSNBC):
“While it is believed that 10 to 15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen a few times weekly is sufficient for many, people with dark skin and those in northern, less sunny climates need more. Because of sunlight’s link with skin cancer, “vitamin D supplements during infancy, childhood and adolescence are necessary,” the academy’s report says.”
However you do it, just be sure to recognize this long overlooked vitamin that can do great things.