Rickets in Southampton; time to reconsider vitamin D for the kids!

Hadley Wood’s blog has been following the various developments in the story of vitamin D over the past 18 months but we were shocked by the recent news story that broke revealing the rather shocking news that some 20% of children tested for bone problems in Southampton showed signs of rickets… yes; rickets in modern Britain 2010! As the article (read it here) commented,”very reminiscent of 17th Century England“.

In a nut shell, vitamin D has become something of a ‘hot-nutrient’ with studies attributing many diverse positive health effects in adulta (eg. influencing mood and emotions, boosting the immune response, improving migraine and even a potential to help MS sufferers to name a few…)  to this once almost exclusively bone specific nutrient. We posted a handy article on the dietary approach to improving vitamin D intake in August and reviewed the role of vitamin D in the fight against the H1N1 virus in issue 1 of The Alternative View along with a summary of the effects of vitamin D in managing chronic headache in issue 6. These past newsletters can be downloaded as PDF files by clicking here. Anyone interested in receiving the TAV as its published can simply register by emailing Carla at Hadley Wood (carla@hadleywoodhealthcare.co.uk).

So far there has been some confusion regarding the amount of vitamin to take and worries over toxicity when doses reach the upper levels. In general, we have been recommending that adults take vitamin D3 at a level of 1000iu per day with those at risk of deficiency taking up to 2000iu per day over the dark winter months and returning to 1000iu during the summer. However, taking doses above 1000iu without first talking with a healthcare professional is not recommended and these are not doses appropriate for children.

Interestingly, the In the US the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board appear to mirror this recommendation but extend the upper limit by suggesting that doses do not exceed 4000iu per day. Personally, I feel such a high intake without regular blood testing to monitor vitamin D levels is unwise and I will be sticking to my 1000iu recommendations with occasional recommendation for 2000iu doses in special cases.

When it comes to children, a daily intake in the region of 150iu would be reasonable for the 1-2 year olds, increasing to 300-450iu per day for the 3-12 year old range. This can be easily achieved with diet and the use of a daily supplement such as OsteoCare liquid.

You can read more about the unfolding vitamin D story by following the links below;

1) Let the Science and evidence guide clinical decision making on vitamin D for the benefit of the patients

2) Media coverage further confuses vitamin D recommendations

3) Broad brush recommendations are disservice to the public

4) Rickets hit Southampton!

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