How Much Vitamin D Does My 2 Year Old Need Vitamin D: Why It’s Easy to Be Deficient

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Vitamin D: Why It’s Easy to Be Deficient

Have you ever seen pictures of children with extremely bowed legs? It’s a condition called rickets and it’s caused by low levels of vitamin D, which causes the bones to soften and weaken.

Vitamin D is essential for bone health. It helps your body maintain a good balance of calcium and phosphate in the blood. With low vitamin D levels, children can develop rickets and adults can develop osteomalacia, a condition in which weak bones cause bone pain, fractures, and muscle weakness.

Vitamin D also has many other functions in the body. It helps control the growth of your cells, improves your immunity, provides nerve and muscle strength, and reduces disease-causing inflammation in your body.

Some studies suggest it may help with type 2 diabetes, weight loss, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, depression, heart disease, colon cancer, and other cancers.

Nursing home residents seem to have significantly fewer falls when they start taking daily vitamin D supplements.

While the jury is still out on all studies regarding vitamin D, we know that it is essential that you get enough, but not too much that it is harmful. Simply put, you need to have optimal vitamin D levels.

How do you get enough vitamin D?

There are 3 ways to get vitamin D:

1. Your skin makes vitamin D through sunlight

2. You can get vitamin D from food

3. You can take a vitamin D supplement

Let’s start with the sun on the skin.

In general, exposing your face, hands, arms, and legs to sunlight 2 to 3 times a week can produce enough vitamin D to keep you healthy. The exposure should be about 1/4 of the time it would take to get a mild sunburn. Depending on skin color, this can mean 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure between 10:00 and 15:00.

It is the ultraviolet B radiation in sunlight that helps your skin make vitamin D. Full cloud cover reduces this radiation by about 50%. Shade, including the shade of heavy pollution, reduces this ultraviolet B radiation by about 60%.

How about food?

Surprisingly, there aren’t too many foods that are naturally high in vitamin D. The following list contains the foods with the highest vitamin D content:

Vitamin D measured in IU:

Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon, 1.360

Swordfish, cooked, 3 oz., 566

Sockeye Salmon, Cooked 3 oz., 447

Mackerel, canned, 3 oz., 214

Sardines, canned, 3 oz., 197

Tuna, canned in water, drained, 3 oz., 154

Orange juice fortified with vitamin D, 1 cup, 137

Milk, Vitamin D Fortified, 1 Cup, Skim, Reduced Fat, Whole, 115-124

The abbreviation IU stands for “international unit” and is what you’ll find on food and supplement labels.

A third source of vitamin D is dietary supplements.

There are generally two different forms of vitamin D on the market: ergocalciferol (also known as vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (also known as D3). I will discuss their effectiveness in the next section.

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?

Well, if you can get enough sun on your skin as described above, you really don’t have to worry about getting more vitamin D from food and supplements.

On the other hand, foods and supplements can provide a healthy dose of vitamin D if you have any (or a combination) of the following risk factors for low vitamin D levels:

  • You don’t spend enough time outside, especially in the sun.
  • You live in a northern latitude, especially north of the Philadelphia-San Francisco line. For example, in Boston for about 4 months of the year there is not enough sunlight for your skin to make vitamin D. If you go further north to Edmonton, Canada, your skin cannot make vitamin D for 5 months of the year.
  • You’ve followed your dermatologist’s advice to use plenty of sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
  • You have darker skin. Skin pigment reduces the skin’s ability to absorb ultraviolet radiation from the sun. In a bathing suit, a fair-skinned person spending 10-12 minutes under the peak July sun in Boston can produce 10,000 to 20,000 international units of vitamin D. An Asian Indian person, who has darker skin, will take about 30 minutes to produce. that much vitamin D. It will take about 120 minutes for an African-American with very dark skin to make the same amount of vitamin D.
  • You are obese. Vitamin D accumulates in fat cells. This reduces the amount of the vitamin circulating in the blood.
  • You have a medical condition such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and cystic fibrosis that impairs the absorption of vitamin D in your gut.
  • You are a strict vegetarian.
  • Your kidneys are damaged so they can’t activate the vitamin D you have.
  • You are over 65 years old. This means your skin makes less vitamin D, your intestines may not absorb nutrients as efficiently, and your kidneys may not activate vitamin D as efficiently. Even in sunny South Florida, up to 40% of the elderly have low vitamin D levels.

If you have any of these risk factors, how many international units of vitamin D should you aim for per day?

That depends on who you talk to. In recent years, different scientific authorities have come up with different amounts of vitamin D that they think are good for your daily intake through food and supplements.

To spare you the confusing numbers and arguments, here’s the bottom line.

If you’re an adult, aim for 600 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day from food and supplements.

And if you get vitamin D from supplements, keep in mind that unit for unit, cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) is better utilized by your body than ergocalciferol (vitamin D2).

In general, vitamin D3 is about 3x stronger than vitamin D2.

How do you know if you have a vitamin D deficiency?

If you are low in vitamin D, you may have bone pain and muscle weakness. But often the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are very subtle. And even without obvious symptoms, low vitamin D can adversely affect your health in a variety of ways.

Your doctor may order a simple blood test, 25-hydroxy vitamin D. Again, the normal range for vitamin D varies by authority. But here’s what you need to know: a level of 30 to 50 ng/ml is considered optimal for bone health and overall health.

If your blood test indicates that you have very low levels of circulating vitamin D, your doctor may prescribe high-dose treatment for a period of time. Make sure you follow his instructions.

Can you get sick from too much vitamin D?

Yes, you can!

Too much vitamin D in your body can cause you to not want to eat, lose weight, urinate excessively, and have an abnormal heartbeat. More seriously, it can cause calcium levels in the blood to become too high, resulting in damage to the heart, blood vessels and kidneys.

Unless you are under the close supervision of your doctor, do not take more than 4,000 international units of vitamin D from food and supplements per day. Exceeding this dose will increase your risk of toxic vitamin D overload.

On the other hand, your skin doesn’t make much vitamin D from sunlight. Your body is such an amazing creation that when you get too much sun, your skin actually gets rid of excess vitamin D automatically.

Read on to discover the keys to defusing the ticking health bombs that could be lurking in your body. Click here to discover the medical secrets you need to know to live a better, longer and healthier life.

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