Q: My children are 2 and 5, do I need to give them vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, particularly during periods of growth and development. In addition, it has been highlighted as one nutrient which many groups of the population, including children, are deficient in. It is well known that vitamin D is essential for the growth and maintenance of bone and is therefore utilised extensively by the body during childhood, which is obviously a time of significant growth. Vitamin D is also essential for immune and cognitive function, and again, childhood is a period of time that is essential for the development of both of these systems.
The government now recommends that everyone supplements their diet with 10µg of vitamin D per day as it recognises not only the necessity of this nutrient, but also the low intake across society and the impact it has on public health.
Vitamin D3 is the active form of vitamin D and is found in limited food sources including oily fish, butter and eggs. Vitamin D2 needs to be converted by the body to D3 and is found in other sources such as mushrooms. However, it can be difficult to obtain sufficient amounts of vitamin D from the diet alone. The body is also quite effective at manufacturing vitamin D3 in the presence of sunlight. However, the UV rays from the sun are only potent enough to stimulate vitamin D production between the months of May to October, and alongside more time being spent indoors and the use of sun protection, even during this time period it can be difficult to obtain enough vitamin D.
Therefore, I would recommend supplementing vitamin D3 for both your children with 10µg per day being a good maintenance dose. It can be difficult for children of this age to take capsules, however vitamin D products in the form of liquids and sprays are available. I would recommend giving them five drops of Cytoplan’s Vitamin D3 Drops every day.