Deficiency, intake… Update on vitamin D in babies and children

with Agnès Linglart, paediatrician

Vitamin D is essential for both adults and babies, and often requires supplementation in young children to prevent deficiency symptoms. But what exactly is vitamin D? What is the purpose of supplementation? How do you recognize defects? We take stock with Agnès Linglart, paediatrician.

Vitamin D, what is it?

Vitamin D is a very important compound for the body. The latter, in particular, will help increase the concentration of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. This role is very important for babies, as Agnès Linglart explains: “Vitamin D is essential for a child’s growth. It also allows for the mineralization of the skeleton, be it the development of bones, cartilage and teeth. Vitamin D also helps reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases. It plays a key role in improving the health of the population.” Vitamin D also contributes to the development of nerve transmission, blood circulation and good muscle contraction.

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Food, sun… Where can I find vitamin D?

If vitamin D is essential for our body, where is it found? The latter is particularly found in certain foods, as Agnès Linglart explains: “There aren’t many foods that contain vitamin D. They mainly appear in oily fish (sardines, mackerel, etc.). This is also why previous generations consumed cod liver oil when they were children. It also contains vitamin D certain meats such as veal, chicken or raw egg yolk.

However, if these foods can help increase the levels of vitamin D in his body, the sun is the main contributor to vitamin D. In fact, when exposed to the sun and its ultraviolet rays, our bodies can – even make – it itself a synthesis of vitamin D vitamin D. According to the National Agency for Health and Food Safety (ANSES), exposing yourself to the sun for about twenty minutes a day (usually in the morning or late afternoon) would be enough to have vitamin D thanks to its daily intake the synthesis of the vitamin.

Why do newborns and young children get vitamin D?

The sun and food are therefore essential sources for the intake of the necessary vitamin D. However, in adults and especially in babies, the levels are often not reached, as Agnès Linglart reminds us: “In France, the sun’s rays are often not enough to get enough vitamin to have D level. The same applies to food, especially children and infants, whose milk does not provide enough vitamin D.” In addition, exposure to the sun is contraindicated in infants because their skin is too sensitive in the first years of life. In addition, some regions are less exposed to the sun, which reduces the synthesis of the vitamin and its level in the body in children.

As a result, most healthcare professionals prescribe vitamin D supplementation for infants and young children, as Agnès Linglart explains: “We recommend that parents give children specific medications that allow for the administration of accurate doses of vitamin D and to meet these nutritional needs.” .” These drugs include Adrigyl, Deltius, and ZymaD. Generally, these medications come in the form of drops that are administered daily. It is important to observe the precautions for using these medicines and not to use them without a doctor’s prescription.

Sunscreen, schedules …: recommendations to protect babies from the sun

The baby’s exposure to the sun needs to be managed carefully. It is recommended to wear sunscreen on every excursion. In addition to sunscreen, in addition to sunscreen, it is advisable not to expose the baby to the sun during the hours when it is the hottest, that is, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Until what age should babies be given vitamin D? How long ?

The need for vitamin D supplementation, therefore, necessitates taking medication in young children in most cases, but up to what age? As a rule, this daily treatment will last until the child is 18 or even 24 months old. Everything, of course, depends on the doctor’s instructions. After this time, the need for vitamin D supplements is still not over! Medications continue to be prescribed during the winter months due to reduced sun exposure. Generally, the child will continue to be prescribed medication by the doctor until the child is of legal age, when growth continues. Discontinuation of the prescription is based on age and growth.

Vitamin D supplementation in infants: What are the risks of supplements related to overdose?

In addition to sources of vitamin D and sources of medication prescribed by a doctor, you can also find dietary supplements online or in pharmacies that help to increase your vitamin D levels. Not really, explains Agnès Linglart: “Dietary supplements contain doses of vitamins that can be administered less precisely than pharmaceuticals. In this case, too high intake of dietary supplements in small children can lead to health problems. There is a risk d’hypercalcémie, that is, a risk of having too much calcium in the body. This phenomenon of too high a dose of calcium can lead to kidney damage such as lithiasis.”

It should also be noted that even with medication, there can always be a dosing error in the dose given by the parent to the child. If in doubt, do not hesitate to exercise caution and contact a Poison Control Center for the right advice and information.

Vitamin D deficiency: what are the risk factors?

Unlike overdose, babies and children can be vitamin D deficient. If this phenomenon can affect the general population as seen above, are there any population groups that are more at risk than others among babies? The risk factors will be major environment. If the child lives in an area where there is less sun, the risk factor may be greater. The same applies to skin color. The darker a baby’s skin, the less ultraviolet light penetrates their skin, making the body’s production of vitamin D slower and less important. Breastfed babies whose mothers themselves have a vitamin D deficiency can also be risk factors for a deficiency.

What Are the Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency in Babies? What aggravation?

Rickets is the main risk of vitamin D deficiency in infants, as Agnès Binglart continues: “Rachitis is a growth and bone disease. It prevents children from growing and causes insufficient absorption of calcium from the bones. It may be Deformities in the bones of the skull in particular”. There can also be a larger gap between the knees when the feet touch. However, if rickets still exists in France, it is very rare. However, it is important to boost your child’s vitamin D levels monitor, especially if risk factors are present.

Vitamin D intake: what recommendations and needs for babies and children?

Every year, new recommendations are published by health organizations on the ideal vitamin D level for babies and children. The French Society of Pediatrics has just updated its recommendations:

For children from 0 to 2 years, the recommended rate of 400 IU (international units) Minimum located with ideal complement between 400 and 800 IU. However, for children in this age group, the supplement falls somewhere in between 800 and 1600 IU Daily.

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