As you've probably heard from your doula, OB-GYN, or pediatrician, vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin your kids should be receiving from day one. But the answer to how much vitamin D should toddlers take each day isn't black and white. Like most things, it doesn't work the same as it does with adults, and toddlers may need more than you think. But at the same time, you don't want to overdo it either, because the body is only meant to handle and process so much — even when it comes to healthy things.
The short and sweet, go-to answer is that toddlers need 400 IU of vitamin D (10 mcg) a day, according to Dr. Natasha Burgert of KC Kids Doc. But it gets a little complicated when considering how toddlers can get vitamin D and if they're taking advantage of natural ways to build up the nutrient. It's a good idea, however, to first understand why vitamin D is so important and how it can help your toddler develop.
Baby Center shared that "vitamin D helps the body absorb minerals like calcium and builds strong teeth and bones." Researcher and professor of medicine Michael F. Holick told the site that a vitamin D deficiency can not only cause rickets (a bone deformity and fractures disease), but it can also stop a toddler from getting to their "genetically programmed height and peak bone mass." Additionally, the vitamin helps regulate the immune system, cell growth, and insulin within your little one's body. So, as you can see, it's a pretty important piece of health and development, and there are actually a number of ways your toddler can get it.
Vitamin D is present in several things you and your toddler have easy access to including food, milk, orange juice, and sunlight. You can mix foods like beef, salmon, cheese, oatmeal, shiitake mushrooms, and egg yolk to increase vitamin D in your toddler's diet, according to Prevention. And SF Gate said you can also make sure they get plenty of time in the sun, as sunlight sets off one of three chemical reactions that convert an inactive compound in the skin into vitamin D. Even with all of these vitamin D outlets for your toddler, it's still not always enough. Consider supplementing with a vitamin D gummy or vitamin where you see fit. Also gauge how much vitamin D your toddler's getting naturally by looking up the amount in the foods and time in the sun they get. For example, one ounce of salmon is 102 IU, a half a cup of orange juice is 50 IU, and a large egg yolk is 20 IU.
When considering how your toddler is getting vitmain D (and how much), it's interesting to know that just a few years ago the recommended amount of vitamin D was only 200 IU per day, shared Kars4Kids. That's not the case anymore. There are actually a number of suggested amounts, ranging between 400 IU and 2500 IU per day for toddlers. So when it comes to figuring out roughly how much vitamin D your child is already getting and the dosage to give them in vitamin form, it's a good idea to talk to your pediatrician. They can help you find the amount that is appropriate for your child and that you are comfortable with as a parent. Although 400 IU is a strongly recommended dosage, there are some experts who encourage three to four times that amount, putting your toddler on the higher end of the amount to comfortably give.
In the end, however, if your child is receiving at least 400 IU, they're within the amount they should be taking daily, according to Burgert. Although some parents may want to increase the dosage, keep in mind that if your toddler gets a lot of sun rays already or eats several foods high in vitamin D, you might consider staying away from higher dosages. Or consult your pediatrician for the right answer for you.
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