Summer Washout and Vitamin D Deficiency in Children

By Monica Wilson on July 04, 2012

As the cloud gets dimmer and rain continues to pour down, doctors warn of the possibility of rickets epidemic in children. The rainy season in Britain has started April and is expected to continue.

Sunlight is the major source of vitamin D which is among the most important nutrients needed for healthy cell formation and bone development. It keeps our bones stronger because without it, our body couldn’t absorb sufficient calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D takes part in cell growth and in the proper functioning of the immune and neuromuscular systems. Sufficient amount of vitamin D in the body also reduces the risk of inflammation.

Low Vitamin D in Children

According to Dr Nicola Balch, an associate specialist in child health at the British Medical Association, the modern living, with an increasingly indoor lifestyle, air pollution, diet, and overuse of sunscreen led to the reduced access to vitamin D.  And when people don’t go out in the sun, vitamin D deficiency is likely to take place.

Many doctors in the UK are alarmed of the weather season which is more likely to affect the ethnic children, because darker skin doesn’t get to absorb as much as vitamin D in cooler climates. Dr Bach said that people only need 20 to 30 minutes of sunlight three to four times a week to ensure they get enough vitamin D. But with the pouring weather, doctors fear that it’s impossible to achieve.

Rickets is the softening of bones in children which can lead to deformities and fractures if not addressed in the earliest possible time. This condition is usually observed in children up to three years old whose bones are just developing. In the report from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, it was shown that 27% of children don’t get enough vitamin D.

How to get enough dose of Vitamin D

90% of vitamin D comes from the sun. While we can’t stop the rain from falling down, we can do something to get more of vitamin D despite the rain season. Here are some tips from the experts:

Take vitamin D supplements

Although these man-made supplements cannot replace the effects of sunshine, taking such supplements is better than receiving no vitamin D at all. Dr Bach urged the government to launch a national programme of vitamin D supplements. Experts recommend breastfeeding and pregnant mums and their children six months to seven years old to take supplements.

Eat vitamin D rich foods

Less than 10% of vitamin D comes from diet. But then again, it still helps. Eggs, fish oil, liver, and fish are the great sources of this vitamin. Formula milk and margarines are fortified with vitamin D. When shopping, choose food products that have vitamin D as well.

Take advantage of sunny days

There will be some days when the sun will shine even just a little. Make sure you give yourself even just a few minutes feeling the sunlight striking on your skin.

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