Everyone knows the importance of Vitamin D for the health and how it is available freely from early morning sunlight, but Vitamin D is really sourced in two ways. It can be obtained through plants, called ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2) and produced by the human body when exposed to sunlight, called cholecalciferol Vitamin D3)
Importance of Vitamin D
A lot of people wonder how important Vitamin D really is, since it is seldom available in supplements unlike other vitamins and minerals. Many folks think it is an optional vitamin even for children. However, it is far from being optional. Without it, specifically Vitamin D2 and D3, calcium and phosphorus cannot be absorbed from food into the bloodstream. This whole process is necessary for building and maintaining bone health in both adults and kids.
Basically, Vitamin D allows us to utilize the calcium we get from food, according to Daniel J. Raiten, PhD, the program officer of the branch of Endocrinology, Nutrition, and Growth at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. It is located in Bethesda, Maryland.
“You get [calcium] from food and Vitamin D is involved in getting it absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract.” Dr. Raiten said.
Sources of Vitamin D
Vitamin D for kids and even adults can be sourced from fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel), cereal, fortified milk, and certain juices. It is also found in beef, eggs, and cheese. Actually, it is fat soluble in the same way Vitamins A, E and K are, according to Dr. Raiten. To be absorbed, these vitamins—along with Vitamin D—need to be associated with oil or fat, he added. This is the reason why dairy is perfect for fortification. Adding the vitamin to dairy is conducive because dairy has fat.
In case your kid doesn’t drink milk or eat dairy products, cereals and juices fortified with Vitamin D are good ways to make your kid get the vitamin. But of course, nothing beats getting them through more nutritious foods like dairies. According to some baby experts, infants on breast milk without supplementation with formula milk should be given Vitamin D drops. Breast milk does not contain Vitamin D, they said.
Sunlight as a source of Vitamin D for kids is good as long as the gentle early morning sun touches the bare skin of toddlers. Sunlight on clothes or skin protected with sunblocks has no effect. Expose your kid to gentle sunlight about 10 to 20 minutes every day. This is ideal when strolling with your child around the park for a walk at 6 in the morning.