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New studies highlight the importance of optimal vitamin D3 levels for your children. This is particularly important in the winter, when the sun is low in the sky and kids spend most of their time indoors.
1. Vitamin D and Diabetes
A new study revealed a very strong connection between low vitamin D levels and Type I Diabetes in children. (2) Researchers evaluated 197 children and adolescents for their vitamin D levels. Normal vitamin D levels are 30-100ng/mL, with many experts suggesting optimal levels between 50-80ng/mL. For most adults, this requires about 5000IU per day, according to the Vitamin D Council. (1)
In this study, 40.6 percent of these diabetic kids were severely deficient in vitamin D – with levels below 20 ng/ml. 49.2 percent of them had deficient levels between 20 and 30ng/mL. (2) This study suggests a need to monitor vitamin D levels in all youth with Type I Diabetes. According to the Vitamin D Council, in the winter, children need 2000IU and infants need up to 1000IU of vitamin D3 per day. (1)
2. Vitamin D and Toddler Fat
Another recent study found a relationship between babies with higher levels of vitamin D and body fat and lean muscle. 132 infants were given vitamin D supplementation at varying dosages for 11 months after birth. To their surprise, during the three year follow-up, the toddlers with the highest vitamin D levels were more likely to have significantly less body fat and significantly more lean muscle mass. (3)
3. Vitamin D and Childhood Immunity
Research suggests that an optimal immune system is connected with normal levels of vitamin D – although the exact mechanism is still unclear. Children who have deficient levels of vitamin D are more likely to also have respiratory health and immune concerns. (4,5)
4. Vitamin D and ADHD
Studies have also monitored children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) compared to their non-ADHD peers. Statistically, the children with ADHD had significantly lower levels of vitamin D, suggesting a need to monitor vitamin D levels in all children with ADHD. (6)
5. Vitamin D and Children’s Mood
During the winter months, vitamin D levels can fall dramatically, and kids often feel these effects. There are numerous studies citing the relationship between healthy vitamin D levels and stable moods. (7) Children with the lowest levels of vitamin D were at a greater risk for mood concerns. (7)
Generally 2000IU a day for children in the winter is optimal. Test after 2 months to be sure levels are between 50-80ng/mL.
A Note on Vitamin D Supplementation
While the risk of a vitamin D overdose is minimal in healthy adults, vitamin D supplementation in infants and children under 13 should be approached cautiously, as their smaller body weight can increase risk of overdose. Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before embarking on any regimen intended to address vitamin D levels in children under 13 years of age.