Is your child getting enough Vitamin D?
As adults, vitamins are essential to good health. But often the conversation steers mostly to adults needing more Vitamin D. However, the need for essential vitamins starts during childhood, and a lack of it, could lead to hardening of the arteries down the road, according to a new study.
Vitamin D is important for good overall health and strong bones. It’s also an important factor in making sure your muscles, heart, lungs and brain work well and that your body can fight infection.
Vitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight. You can find the vitamin in foods like certain fish, fish liver oils and egg yolks.
The study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism began in 1980 when 2,148 children ranging in ages 3 to 18 were enrolled. The kids underwent periodic physical exams and their vitamin D levels were measured. Also doctors kept tabs on each child’s physical activity, diet and blood pressure until the age of 45.
They found that children in the lowest quarter of the appropriate vitamin D level—between 30 to 50—were twice as likely to have carotid artery thickening.
“There’s a lot of data showing that vitamin D insufficiency is bad for health,” says the lead author, Dr. Markus Juonala at the University of Turku in Finland stated in a news release. “We found evidence that it is connected to artery health as well.”
Researchers did not find any correlation with heart problems or stroke, simply with the artery conditions.
“For children and adults, vitamin D deficiency is the number one deficiency that leads to the immune system not properly functioning,” says Dr. Joseph Thomas, obstetrician-gynecologist at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “Without it, you could have a higher case of colds, flu, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and different cancers. The number one thing a mom should do when she is pregnant is take Vitamin D supplements so that both her and her baby have enough.”
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