Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Babies need more Vitamin D

I finally got some liquid Vitamin D for the baby. I am only giving it to him on the days he doesn't go outside. Hopefully that will be very few days with Spring here! My other boys are also getting a supplement. I am not a big vitamin person, but I have seen a lot of research on the lack of vitamin D in kids-- and it's coming from groups that typically have differing views. I am still breastfeeding, so my baby is probably getting less vitamin D than a formula fed baby. New research shows even formula fed infants may need a vitamin D supplement! Do you give your baby a vitamin D supplement?

FROM HEALTH.COM/CNN: ( -- The vast majority of infants in the U.S. are not getting the vitamin D that they need, even if they are fed vitamin-enriched formula, a new study has found.

Roughly 9 out of 10 breast-fed babies receive less vitamin D than experts recommend, according to the study, which was conducted by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among formula-fed babies, fewer than 37 percent consume the recommended amount.

It is well-known that breast-fed infants are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. But the study findings suggest that most babies will require a supplement regardless of how they're fed.

"We have to educate moms and the health-care community that vitamin D supplementation is something that they should do [and] recommend," says the lead author of the study, Cria Perrine, Ph.D., of the CDC's division of nutrition, physical activity, and obesity.

The study, published this week in the journal Pediatrics, comes amid growing awareness of the extent - and the health risks - of vitamin D deficiency in both children and adults. Known as the sunshine vitamin, because the human body produces it when exposed to sunlight, vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, a strong immune system, and a range of other bodily processes.

In children, too little vitamin D has been associated with bone softness and an increased risk of heart disease later in life, among other health problems. In 2008, the nation's leading organization of pediatricians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, doubled its recommendation for the amount of vitamin D that infants and children should consume daily, from 200 to 400 international units. The most important nutrient you're not getting

"Most infants will require a vitamin D supplement to reach the new AAP recommendations, while in the past we only thought that breast-fed infants would need supplementation," says Perrine. "Formula-fed infants would need to consume a liter of formula a day to meet the new recommendations, and most infants don't do that - especially those who are being fed with both formula and breast milk."

New mothers should discuss vitamin D supplements with their pediatricians, Perrine adds. (Although it takes just 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure for the body to produce a day's worth of vitamin D, the AAP discourages sun exposure for infants younger than 6 months, and advises the use of sunscreen after that.) Why you need vitamin D now

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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