Why Vitamin D Is Essential For Your Kid's Immune System - Tayyari Jeet Ki by Bournvita
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Nutritional Health|14 April 2023

Why Vitamin D Is Essential For Your Kid’s Immune System

Written by Divya Gandhi
Founder/Owner/Dietitian at Diet and Cure Clinic with 10 Years of experience. Double Diploma from VLCC & IGNOU, BBA from IP University

Vitamin D is necessary for the overall health and well-being of kids. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus – both essential for bone health in kids. For this reason, kids are advised to spend around 15 to 20 minutes daily outside, with their hands and face exposed to the sun, stimulating the skin to synthesize all the Vitamin D their body needs. However, it is equally important that kids protect their skin to prevent any potential damage from too much sun exposure. 

Vitamin D boosts the Immune system:

Studies have shown that Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system of the body. The immune system is your body’s first line of defence against infection and disease so it’s important to ensure that your kid doesn’t have low levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral effects on the body. Research shows that Vitamin D strengthens the immune system’s response to infections. Vitamin D also assists to activate and stimulate the body’s immune cells, such as T cells and B cells, which play a vital role in fighting infections and diseases. According to a study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, children with good levels of Vitamin D in their bodies have fewer respiratory infections, compared to the ones with low levels of Vitamin D. 

Here are some ways in which optimum Vitamin D boosts your kid’s immunity: 

1. It reduces the risk of infections: According to studies, a higher level of Vitamin D helps prevent respiratory infections like flu and cold. 

2. It improves the body’s response to vaccines: Children with adequate amounts of Vitamin D show a better response to vaccines. 

3. It reduces inflammation in the body: Vitamin D helps reduce inflammation in the body. 

4. It reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases: Vitamin D is associated with a reduced risk of autoimmune diseases like sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. 

5. It stimulates anti-microbial peptides: Vitamin D stimulates the production of anti-microbial peptides that helps to fight off infections and diseases. 

In a nutshell, Vitamin D boosts the overall immune system. Therefore, it becomes important to ensure your child gets enough Vitamin D to build up a strong immune system. 

Dosage:

The daily recommended dosage of Vitamin D for kids depends on various factors like, age, weight, and their individual body needs. (Vitamin D intake is measured in micrograms (mcg) or international units (IU), one mcg of Vitamin D is equal to 40 IU). The recommended daily intake of Vitamin D for children and adolescents up to 18 years of age is 600-1000IU/day. The dosage may also depend on many other factors like geographic location, skin colour, and exposure to the sun. It is highly advised to consult your child’s doctor for any requirement of Vitamin D supplement and its appropriate dosage. 

Vitamin D deficiency and the Immune system:

Since kids don’t spend much time playing outdoors these days, they are not exposed to much sunlight either. It’s been observed that even after a healthy diet and good exposure to the sun, kids may remain Vitamin D-deficient, which then hampers their growth and development. A deficiency of Vitamin D in kids may lead to a number of health issues: 

1. Rickets: It is a condition that makes the bones soft and weak. Kids with Vitamin D deficiency are at a higher risk of developing it. Rickets may lead to stunted growth, bowed legs, and other skeletal deformities. 

2. Slow growth and development: As we know Vitamin D is crucial for the growth and development of bones and teeth in children, its deficiency can lead to delayed growth and development. 

3. Muscle weakness: Children with Vitamin D deficiency may experience muscle weakness and decreased physical performance. 

4. Poor dental health: Vitamin D deficiency can cause potential dental issues like tooth decay or cracked or broken teeth. 

Sources of Vitamin D: 

Vitamin D is commonly referred to as ‘the sunshine vitamin’ because when our skin is exposed to the sun it naturally produces Vitamin D which is called UVB-dependent endogenous production. However, children can get Vitamin D from other sources like nutrients from food and by taking supplements. There are two forms of Vitamin D, Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) which are both equally crucial for growth and development. There are a few foods that are naturally rich in Vitamin D, like fish, eggs, milk, soy, cheese, orange juice, mushroom, breakfast cereals, and yoghurt. 

Conclusion:

Vitamin D supplements can boost your kid’s immune system when children are not getting enough of it through diet and sun exposure.

Things to keep in mind if you consider Vitamin D supplements for your kid: 

1. Consult the doctor first: It is important to consult your kid’s doctor regarding the supplements as they can determine the appropriate dosage according to your kid’s needs. 

2. The right form of the supplement: Vitamin D supplements come in various forms like capsules, liquid, and gummies. You can choose the right form according to your kid’s age and preferences. 

3. Always follow instructions: Follow the dosage instructions provided on the supplement label or as instructed by your kid’s doctor. 

4. Proper diet and sun exposure: Make sure your kid is getting enough Vitamin D through diet as well as sun exposure.

The views expressed are that of the expert alone.

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