Why is Vitamin-D needed? Comparison across different age groups
By The Headlines, April 2, 2023 | 11:11 AM
Vitamin D is essential to maintain the balanced levels of calcium and phosphate in the body. Consuming adequate amounts of essential nutrients helps maintain healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
Vitamin D deficiency can cause:
- Rickets is a prevalent bone deformation found in children.
- Osteomalacia in adults can lead to excruciating bone pain.
Research in Ireland reveals that adult citizens have inadequate levels of Vitamin D.
What are the best sources of Vitamin D?
Generally, individuals can get enough vitamin D from the sun between late March and September.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for optimal health, and the body produces it naturally when exposed to sunlight. Sunlight triggers a reaction in the skin, which in turn enables it to produce Vitamin D. Spending time outdoors in the sun is an easy and free way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D.
From October to March, our bodies don't get enough Vitamin D from sunlight.
A few food sources contain Vitamin D in minimal amounts.
Sources that include Vitamin D:
- Certain fish types, including salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel have high oil content.
- Red meat
- Egg yolks
- Certain types of food, such as fat spreads and breakfast cereals, are fortified with essential nutrients to enhance their nutritional value.
- Another source of vitamin D is dietary supplements.
How much Vitamin D is needed based on the age group?
During winter, when there is not enough sunlight, specific individuals may need to take vitamin D supplements for their health.
How much Vitamin D do babies under 12 months need?
All babies under 12 months old should receive a daily supplement of 5 micrograms of vitamin D since birth, regardless of any other factors.
- You should consume no more than 300mls or 10 fluid ounces of infant formula in a single day.
It is recommended to discontinue formula milk and switch to whole milk once your child turns 1 year old
How much Vitamin D is needed for children aged 1 to 4 years?
Children aged 1 to 4 must receive a daily 5-microgram vitamin D supplement from October 31st to March 17th.
How much Vitamin D is needed for children over 4 years old?
Vitamin D consumption is essential during autumn and winter, as the amount of sunshine isn't enough to generate Vitamin D within our bodies. We need to include it in our diet during these months.
People usually don't get enough Vitamin D through their diet, so a 10-microgram daily supplement should be taken during autumn and winter to make up for this deficiency. From late March to the end of September, most people can obtain their daily recommended amount of Vitamin D from both dietary sources and sun exposure.
There is no need to take a vitamin D supplement during the fall and winter months. Pharmacies stock Vitamin D supplements in various forms, including chewable tablets and tablets that dissolve in your mouth. It is recommended to consume vitamin D supplements with a large meal for maximum absorption.
Individuals lacking in Vitamin D should get their levels tested to ensure sufficient intake.
Those with limited sun exposure are unable to obtain adequate vitamin D levels from sunlight alone and may have to resort to taking supplements. To ensure adequate vitamin D levels, you must take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D if any of the following applies:
- People who are frail or housebound rarely have the opportunity to go outside.
- Resides in an institution like care home.
- It is recommended to dress in clothing that provides coverage when outside.
- Have black or brown skin
What are the effects of taking too much vitamin D?
Prolonged intake of high doses of Vitamin D can lead to an excessive buildup of calcium in the body, which is known as hypercalcaemia. This condition can weaken bones, damage kidneys & heart and have other harmful effects. Most people need only 10 micrograms of vitamin D supplements per day for optimal health.
Adults, older people, and children aged 11 to 17 years should not exceed 100 micrograms (4,000 IU) of vitamin D per day as it can be detrimental to their health. For children aged 1 to 10 years, the maximum daily recommended Vitamin D dosage is 50 micrograms (2,000 IU). Infants under 12 months should not take more than 25 micrograms (1,000 IU) a day.
It is important to note that certain people may not be able to take as much due to underlying medical conditions. If this applies to you, it is recommended that you consult with your GP before taking any action. If your doctor recommends a particular dosage of vitamin D, you must follow it.
Sun exposure helps provide the body with vitamin D and is a non-toxic way to get it, but you must always wear sunscreen or protective clothing if you are out in the sun for extended periods. Doing so minimizes the chances of skin damage & cancer.