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AAP Recommends Doubling Vitamin D Intake
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released new recommendations today for vitamin D intake. The AAP now recommends doubling the daily intake of vitamin D from 200 IU a day to 400 IU per day for all infants, children and adolescents. Many infants and children are not getting enough vitamin D from their diet or exposure to sunlight, a natural way to absorb vitamin D. There is growing concern about Rickets, a bone softening disease that is caused by poor intake of vitamin D. Rickets is completely preventable yet it is still seen in the United States, most commonly in breastfed infants but increasingly in adolescents.
Vitamin D has a role in calcium absorption and may reduce osteoporosis. There is evidence that vitamin D has other health benefits such as boosting the immune system and preventing infections, diabetes, some types of cancer and autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
Why is this important?
- Infants: Breastfed infants should receive a supplement of 400 IU of vitamin D per day starting in the first days of life. Infants and toddlers drinking less than a quart per day of vitamin D fortified formula or milk should receive supplements.
- Children: Children drinking less than one quart of vitamin D fortified milk should receive supplements.
- Adolescents who do not consume vitamin D rich foods and beverages (fortified milk and breakfast cereal, fatty fish, fish oil) should receive supplements of 400 IU of vitamin D per day.
- Other: Children on certain medications to treat seizures may be at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency and need extra supplements and monitoring by the doctor.
Children with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) may be at greater risk for nutritional deficits due to poor eating. Many children with GERD have difficulty eating a healthy, nutritious diet due to: picky eating, omitting food groups and eliminating foods that trigger symptoms. Often, calcium and vitamin D rich foods such as milk and dairy products are not tolerated due to digestive discomfort or lactose intolerance. In addition, there is some concern that reflux medications may alter absorption of nutrients and lead to deficits. So it is likely that a child with GERD will need extra vitamin D supplements to offset a poor diet. Your may want to talk to your doctor about your child’s diet and the need for vitamin D at the next schedule health check up.