n essential thing that every mother must know is that little ones need vitamin D supplements from the first days of life. This substance prevents the onset of rickets, a disease frequently found in children with difficulties assimilating calcium in the body, explains pediatrician Andreea Alexandra Oprean.
Vitamin D reabsorbs calcium and phosphorus from the intestine and deposits them in the areas where the body needs them, especially in the bones. This vitamin contributes to the development of teeth, to harmonious growth, to the normal functioning of the muscular system, as well as to the strengthening of the immune system.
There are studies that have demonstrated its involvement in the prevention of adult health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer and obesity, adds the pediatrician. The forms in which it is found are D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
How and when to administer
According to pediatrician Andreea Alexandra Oprean, rickets prophylaxis is carried out with vitamin D3 supplements starting from the age of 10 days of the infant, up to 2 years.
The recommended dose is 500-1,000 IU/day, equivalent to 1-2 drops. After the age of 2, it is recommended to continue the administration of vitamin D until the age of 7, in the autumn and winter months, when the intensity of the sun’s rays decreases. Then, a cure can be carried out before entering puberty, with supplements in the form of chewable tablets, the pediatrician recommends.
Some children require curative doses of vitamin D. These are those who already show the symptoms of rickets: lack of appetite, excessive sweating in the nape area, prominent forehead, bulging of the fontanelle (soft head), bulging chest, deformities of the limbs.
In this case, higher doses of vitamin D (4-8 drops/day) are administered for a period of 2-3 months, together with calcium supplements and/or Omega-3 fatty acids.
All this is done only on the recommendation of the pediatrician, because there is a risk of calcium deposition in the kidneys or of vitamin D intoxication. There is also the option of administering vitamin D by injection, but it is less used, says the pediatrician.
It is good to know that both breastfed and formula-fed children require vitamin D3 supplementation.
Dr. Andreea Alexandra Oprean
specialist in pediatrics, MedLife Hyperclinic, Cluj-Napoca
Vitamin D3 is synthesized in the upper layer of the skin, the epidermis, under the action of ultraviolet rays. For this reason, it is recommended to expose the child to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day, with appropriate head protection, to prevent sunstroke.
The richest food sources of vitamin D are: fatty fish (herring, sardine, tuna, mackerel, salmon), fish oil (mullet, tuna, turbot), egg yolk, calf liver, butter, whole milk and non-fat dairy products, cereals , nuts, mushrooms.