RECOMMENDATION: Particularly during the winter months, we advise that children take a supplement of at least 600IU per day in accordance with the US guidelines.
Most children in the UK have less than optimum levels of vitamin D. In winter, one third to a half of children have insufficient vitamin D. While the averages increase in the summer, the levels remain insufficient.
We are still researching what vitamin D deficiency in a child’s early life does to their risk factors for long latency diseases, although we do know that the first year of life determines a child’s long term bone health and density. Many adult diseases are increasingly thought to have their origin in childhood.
It is likely that vitamin D deficient children will be at higher risk of many chronic diseases including half of all cancers, several nervous system diseases for example multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, diabetes types 1 and 2, as well as being a contributory cause of heart disease, raised blood pressure (hypertension), inflammatory bowel diseases, polycystic ovary disease, menstrual problems and infertility, infections and dental decay. The cancers that have an increased risk as a result of vitamin D deficiency include some of the most common types: cancers of the breast, bowel, ovary, and prostate.