Updated: Jul 9, 2018
It's an important nutrient that's not provided through food but sunlight.
Most people know that calcium is a building block for strong bones. But do you know that Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium? Vitamin D also helps promote immune function as well as influences cell growth and development.
Around four million Australian adults were Vitamin D deficient in 2011–12, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2014.
The main source of vitamin D for people residing in Australia and New Zealand is exposure to sunlight.
Everyone has had received the message loud and clear to Slip Slop and Slap but have we taken it too far? Does a child need to be immediately lathered in sunscreen the very moment before they go outside to play?
It goes without saying that the sun can be damaging to skin BUT it is also the very best way to get your Vitamin D as it’s scarce in foods.
I am not for a moment suggesting that sun protection is not necessary in this sunburnt country. I am also not suggesting you bin your sunscreen or throw caution to the wind - BUT do you know that Vitamin D deficiency in Australia is on the rise, with the most severe cases leading to rickets (a skeletal deformity)? Yes, this includes infants and children.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include
· bone pain or tenderness
· dental deformities
· impaired growth
· increased bone fractures
· muscle cramps
· short stature, and
· skeletal deformities such as rickets
It’s critical that kids get enough Vit D with diet rich calcium to build strong bones. Adolescents need 600-1000iu per day.
For moderately fair-skinned people, a walk with arms exposed for 6–7 minutes mid morning or mid afternoon in summer, and with as much bare skin exposed as feasible for 7–40 minutes (depending on latitude) at noon in winter, on most days, is likely to be helpful in maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in the body.
So get 10mins of sun before you Slip Slop Slap (cover face) to avoid becoming deficient or see your naturopath for the most appropriate Vitamin D supplement for your needs.
Is your teen getting enough Vit D?
This is for information purposes and it not intended to be used as medical advice.