Vitamin D for Good Bone Health

Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones and muscles. Without Vitamin D, our bodies can't effectively absorb calcium, which is essential for good bone health. Kids who lack Vitamin D develop the condition called rickets, which then causes bone weakness, bowed legs, and other skeletal deformities, like stooped posture. Today, physicians are seeing an uptick in the quantity of children with rickets. Dr. Weaver of Audrain Orthopaedics in Mexico, Missouri want for you to keep the subsequent information in mind about the value of good bone health with Vitamin D. This article focuses on the reasons for the increase and things parents can do to improve their children's bone health — and also their own.

What is Vitamin D all about?

Vitamin D is not a vitamin. Vitamins are special nutrients that the body requires but cannot make, so they must be obtained from what we eat or by supplements. Because our bodies can make Vitamin D in the skin when it is exposed to good sunlight, Vitamin D is considered a hormone.

How did we learn about Vitamin D and its importance?

Orthopedic Surgery mexico mo missouri vitamin d central mo mid-missouriWhen our ancestors stopped working in the fields and entered factories or schools, rickets grew to become a problem—in fact, it was commonly seen during winter months, particularly in northerly locations.

In about 1920, people observed that children who took cod-liver oil hardly ever got rickets. This resulted in the discovery of Vitamin D and the starting of Vitamin D supplementation of the diet.

Why Is There a New Focus on Vitamin D Today?

Recent research has stressed the necessity of Vitamin D — not just for good bone health, but also for potentially preventing chronic disease when we're older. Yet, many children today are not getting sufficient Vitamin D. In light of the new research, both the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics have doubled the recommended daily requirements of Vitamin D for children.

There are numerous reasons children today aren't getting enough Vitamin D. A very important one is that hardly any foods contain substantial amounts of the vitamin. Even the healthiest of diets will probably not provide a child with adequate Vitamin D.

Changes in lifestyle have also played a part. A number of aspects of contemporary childhood impact Vitamin D intake:

•   Children today spend many hours in front of a computer or a television, rather than playing outside.

•   Few children walk to school on a regular basis.

•   Many sought after sports, like basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics, are indoor activities.

•   Milk intake by kids has gradually decreased in favor of soda or fruit juice.

Children these days spend a lot of time being inside and inactive. It's well-documented that fitness levels among kids are decreasing and obesity levels are increasing. Children need to have no less than 35 to 60 minutes of physical exercise every day. Without it, they cannot build healthy bodies (or healthy bones!).

Along with affecting kids' fitness levels, spending so much time indoors has impacted the volume of Vitamin D their bodies make. Our skin makes a lot of Vitamin D when we spend time in the sun. However, the American Academy of Dermatology warns against overexposure from the sun or indoor tanning since ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and tanning beds can result in the development of skin cancer.

It is very important to protect our skin by utilizing sunscreen when we are outdoors, and parents should apply sunscreen to their children whenever they play outdoors. Sunscreen does, nevertheless, inhibit our skin's capability to make Vitamin D.

If a healthy diet and playing outdoors will not provide children with enough Vitamin D, then how do we make certain they get it?

The very best way for today's children to securely get the Vitamin D their bodies need is to take Vitamin D supplements.

How much Vitamin D do we need?

Vitamin D is measured in units known as "International Units," or IUs. The government's suggestion from 1997 until 2008 was that 200 IU of Vitamin D would prevent rickets in the majority of children. New research led to doubling that recommendation in 2008, from 200 to 400 IU of Vitamin D. The American Academy of Pediatrics has now increased the daily advised dose of Vitamin D in children to 400 IU, too. This is the amount that generally seems to thwart rickets, not the amount which will result in the healthiest bones.

Recent research supports that the body must have at least 1000 IU per day for good health — depending on age, weight, and growth. In fact, a lot of people need much more than a thousand IU to keep Vitamin D levels in the right range.

In general, babies (especially those who're breastfeeding) and small children should intake no less than four hundred IU of Vitamin D daily. Children over age 5, teenagers, and adults should get at least 1000 IU of Vitamin D every day.

What are food sources of Vitamin D?

Not many foods naturally have Vitamin D — it is found in substantial amounts only in fish.

Some foods have Vitamin D added to them ("fortification"). For instance, milk is fortified, but an 8-ounce glass of milk offers only one hundred IU of Vitamin D. Some other foods, such as breakfast cereal, are fortified, but at low levels. Eggs can have small amounts of Vitamin D if the hen was fed the vitamin.

Other dairy products — such as yogurt and cheese — are usually not fortified with Vitamin D.

How can I ensure my child gets adequate Vitamin D?

Taking a Vitamin D supplement is the most effective way for your kid to get one thousand IU of Vitamin D each day. To get Vitamin D from food, your child would need to eat fish every day and consume 10 glasses of Vitamin D fortified milk each day. Most children don't do this, so the most practical way for children to get enough Vitamin D is to take a supplement, at least in the winter time.

What supplements should I give my children?

Children's multivitamins contain between 60 and 400 IU of Vitamin D. Taking several multivitamins each day to get more Vitamin D is not a good idea, because too much of other vitamins (such as Vitamin A) can be unhealthy for bone.

Vitamin D is now easily available by itself in child-friendly forms, like gummy vitamins or liquid. Unlike calcium supplements, which are not absorbed if taken in doses greater than 500 mg at one time, Vitamin D may be taken all at once, so it need be given only once daily.

Do certain kids have special Vitamin D requirements?

Some children need additional Vitamin D to maintain good bone health. These children should have their Vitamin D levels frequently checked, if possible. Low Vitamin D levels can easily be treated by your pediatrician.

Obese children. Heavier kids need additional Vitamin D. This is because Vitamin D goes right to body fat and accumulates there. The more fat tissue the body has, the less Vitamin D there is in the bloodstream where it is required. So, overweight children are vulnerable to low Vitamin D levels and need extra Vitamin D intake.

Children who are prone to seizures. Medicines which are taken to prevent or treat seizures increase the body's need for Vitamin D, so children who take anti-seizure medications need to increase their daily Vitamin D intake.

Kids with disabilities. Children who use wheelchairs or have chronic illnesses often do not play outside in the sun and should take Vitamin D.

How do physicians test Vitamin D levels?

The easiest way to know a person's Vitamin D status is to have a blood test which checks the level in the blood. It is important that the right blood test is done: the "25 hydroxy Vitamin D test" shows the level in the blood from both diet and sunlight.

Whenever your physician knows the exact level of Vitamin D in your bloodstream, they are able to make a more accurate suggestion of how much Vitamin D to take.

A blood level under 20 ng/mL can lead to rickets, and over 150 ng/mL can be harmful. Most specialists propose that blood levels between 40 and 70 ng/mL wouldn't only prevent rickets, but lead to good absorption of calcium for healthy bones.

Can we overdo Vitamin D?

Our skin can not make too much Vitamin D — it stops when there's enough in the blood -but it is possible to overdose on Vitamin D supplements.

Since too much Vitamin D can be harmful, doses higher than 2000 IU/day must be taken with care, as recommended by your doctor and based upon the results of blood tests.

Does Vitamin D do more than allow us to absorb calcium?

Vitamin D is very important for good muscle health. Individuals with very low Vitamin D blood levels may be more likely to experience muscle cramps, bone, or joint pain.

Studies suggest that older people who take Vitamin D seem to fall less often, probably due to better muscle function.

Vitamin D is very important in many aspects of our health. Children and adults alike should eat Vitamin D-rich foods, like milk and fish, and take Vitamin D supplements to enjoy good bone health! If you live in Mexico, Columbia, Moberly, Missouri, or anywhere else in the Mid-MO area and have any questions about bone health, get a hold of Audrain Orthopaedics today.

It seems like every time I come to see you, everything goes right for me.

G.B. age 72