Vitamin D interestingly is both a vitamin and a hormone. Infants up to the age of 12 months require 400 international units (IU) per day while children and adolescents require 600IU per day. There are many foods in the market fortified with Vitamin D ranging from milk, orange juice, cereals and yoghurt. Oily fish like salmon and canned sardines are also a source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D can also be synthesized by the skin through sunlight (UV rays) exposure. However, due to the unpredictable sunlight exposure and the risk of skin cancer with prolonged UV exposure, Vitamin D is best consumed from the diet.
Effects of vitamin D deficiency
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency
Does your child have any of the following symptoms: ➡️ Slower tooth eruption compared to other children? ➡️ Dental caries despite good dental hygiene? ➡️ Frequent muscle aches or bone pain? These signs are subtle but could indicate a lack of Vitamin D.
Tooth decay due to vitamin D deficiency
Who is at risk of vitamin D deficiency?
✔️ Breastfed infants or those with milk intake of less than 1 Litre a day should receive 400IU of Vitamin D soonest possible till the age of 12 months. ✔️ Children with dark skin pigmentation. ✔️ Children with lack of sun exposure ✔️ Picky eaters with a diet low in Vitamin D and calcium
What are the effects of Vitamin D deficiency on the body?
Vitamin D is crucial for healthy bone growth in children. ❗ Vitamin D deficiency results in RICKETS; characterized by weakened and pliable bones which may result in limb deformity, abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis) and fracture. ❗ Seizures, muscle spasms (tetany) and abnormal electrical conduction of the heart due to low calcium levels; an indirect result of low Vitamin D levels. ❗ Bone pain and muscle weakness ❗ Abnormal development of teeth leading to delayed tooth eruption or early dental caries. ❗ Gross motor delay in children due to abnormal bone development and joint stretching. ❗ Lack of Vitamin D may cause frequent acute respiratory tract infections.
If your child has a risk of Vitamin D insufficiency, please discuss with your doctor regarding Vitamin D supplementation.
References: 1. Risk of Vitamin D deficiency among 15-year-old adolescents participating in the Malaysian Health and Adolescents Longitudinal Research Team Study (MyHeARTs) https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0200736 2. Recommendations released on prevention, management of rickets by AAP news https://www.aappublications.org/news/2017/…/10/Rickets021017 3. The associations of maternal and neonatal vitamin D with dental development in childhood Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 3, Issue 4, April 2019 4. Is there any relationship between Vitamin D deficiency and Gross Motor Development in 12-month-old children? Iran J Child Neurol. 2019 Summer; 13(3): 55-60 5. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data BMJ 2017;356:i6583 6. Pictures from healthtian.com and pocketdentistry.com
Dr. JoAnn Rajah is a child specialist that provides pediatric care to baby and children in Selangor and KL. Her core strength lies in diagnosing early signs of child health issues and guiding parents on how to manage them.