Vitamin D supplementation is recommended in France from the first days of life. For good reason, vitamin D:
- assures mineralization of bones and teeth in period of growth
- and allows the assimilation of calcium and phosphorus through the intestines and the body.
The primary objective of this supplementation is to prevent rickets, a disease of growth and ossification.
Reminder: the body synthesizes vitamin D thanks to the sun
Usually, vitamins are contained in a specific diet. This is the case, for example, with vitamin C found in citrus fruits. But vitamin D, it can be made by our body. Its synthesis takes place thanks to an essential element: the sun.
Exposure to some ultraviolet light for a quarter of an hour every day is sufficient to provide you with 100% of the necessary daily intake of vitamin D.
Do newborns necessarily need vitamin D intake?
You have probably taken vitamin D supplementation during your pregnancy, which is necessary for your baby’s bones. This must therefore extend for some time. Generally, this treatment lasts until the child is 18-24 months old.
Why this supplementation? Because toddlers, before 1 or 2 years old, should not be exposed to the sun because of their too fragile skin. As a result, they may lack vitamin D.
From 18 months of your child and juntil he is five years old, supplementation continues, but only during the winter months. Ditto for adolescents from 10 to 18 years old.
How much vitamin D daily for my child?
The prescribed doses vary according to the child’s diet (breastfeeding, cow’s milk, milk enriched with vitamin D, etc.). According to the latest ANSES recommendations (April 2021 – source 1), satisfactory vitamin D intakes for children correspond to:
- to 10 micrograms per day (µg / d) for infants under 6 months
- and to 15 µg / day for children and adolescents aged 1 to 17.
Food supplements, medicines … How do I administer vitamin D to my child?
In an opinion published on January 27, 2020 (source 2), ANSES recommends give preference to drugs compared to food supplements in order to prevent the risk of overdose in children.
Parents Can Turn To Vitamin D Medicines in the form of drops:
- Adrigyl (1 drop = 333 IU of vitamin D3). Other ingredients: butylhydroxytoluene (BHT), saccharin, sorbic acid, lemon essential oil, unsaturated polyglycolyzed glycerides.
- Deltius (1 drop = 200 IU of vitamin D3). Other component: refined olive oil
- ZymaD (1 drop = 300 IU of vitamin D3). Other ingredients: essential oil of sweet orange, refined olive oil for injections, mixture of natural tocopherols of alpha, beta, gamma and delta form
“There is also a specialty based on vitamin D2, Stérogyl, the use of which is not recommended as first-line treatment in children”, indicates the Health Security Agency.
Be sure to follow the administration precautions and consult your doctor before any change of medication!
Vitamin D and food supplements: what are the risks?
ANSES, the National Medicines Safety Agency (Ansm), learned pediatric societies, the national college of midwives and poison control centers are alerting to a number of risks associated with the use of food supplements based on vitamin D in children:
- A concentration per drop which is sometimes very high (up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D) associated with the absence of specific product recommendations depending on the age of the child;
- One risk of confusion, even cumulative doses, in the event of a combination of products containing vitamin D;
- A risk of dosage error when switching from one food supplement to another, or when switching from a drug to a food supplement;
- The associated presence of other vitamins (especially vitamin K) or high dose calcium, which increases the risk of hypercalcemia, one of the serious consequences of which may be kidney damage such as lithiasis / nephrocalcinosis (calcium deposit in the kidney).
For all these reasons, the purchase of food supplements on the Internet is not recommended, because they risk being non-compliant with the regulations. For any information, contact your pediatrician.
Are there foods that are high in vitamin D that I can give my baby?
The synthesis of vitamin D takes place mainly via the sun and ultraviolet rays. However, certain foods allow you to fill it up:
- principally fatty fish such as salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, anchovies in oil.
- We also think with egg yolk, only if it is raw.
- And it can be consumed in small quantities in certain meats: veal, chicken.
In any case, this type of diet is not really for young children.
What about milk enriched with vitamin D?
The milks consumed by your baby, first and second age, are fortified with vitamin D, but not enough to avoid supplementation.
A breast-fed baby should also benefit from a higher intake: found in breast milk about 50 units of this vitamin while the baby needs about 1000 units per day.
What are the risks for my child in the event of vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency can be extremely serious and lead to rickets. Its absence is equivalent to insufficient absorption of calcium by the bones. More concretely, the bones of the skull can become soft, those of the wrists and ankles widen, etc.
There is also the presence of a “genu varum” which results in a fairly large gap between the knees when the feet touch. However, rickets is extremely rare in France.
Be especially careful if you live in an area with little sunlight and if your child has dark skin, as the pigmentation filters out ultraviolet rays.