Most parents of young children are nowadays aware of the importance of administrating vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplements to their young during winter months.
- What is vitamin D? Vitamin D is a group of secosteroids (molecules similar to steroids except they have a broken link). In humans, the absorption of calcium and phosphate depends on the presence of vitamin D. Normally the human body can synthesize vitamin D from cholesterol provided that it is exposed to sunshine. During the wintertime, it is however impossible to achieve adequate exposure to sunlight, thus vitamin D should be ingested as such (D2 or D3).
- Natural dietary sources of vitamin D. The best sources of vitamin D in foods we eat are cod-liver oil, salmon, mackerel, orange juice, some mushrooms (when exposed to UV light), beef liver, eggs, and sardines. In general, sea food contains more vitamin D than any other foods and the liver is definitely preferable in animals we eat.
- Here’s an interesting fact about the ability to synthesize vitamin D: Did you know that not all mammals can synthesize vitamin D? For example, cats and dogs are unable to do so, even when exposed to sunlight and, therefore, they need to get vitamin D solely from their diet.
- Vitamin D is essential to bone health and mineralization of teeth. Its importance is so vast that children who don’t get their necessary intake of vitamin D are twice more prone to dental caries. Make sure your body get enough vitamin D and you can reduce your risk of developing dental caries and experiencing tooth decay to half!
- Delays in teeth eruption caused by vitamin D deficiency. This may not be related directly to the vitamin D deficiency, as the cases noted in this context were cases of children who also had other deficiencies in their system. However, reducing vitamin D deficiency will implicitly reduce the risks of delayed teeth eruption.
In most of the cases, a healthy diet combined with regular exposure to sunlight should do the trick; however, due to the fact that most people don’t follow such a schedule with their children, vitamin D is prescribed by physicians in the first three years of life, especially during the wintertime.