Families have been aware of the importance of sufficient vitamin D consumption in developing healthy bones for years. Researchers have begun to realize that the benefits of vitamin D extend beyond just bone health. Vitamin D has been proven to be an important contributor to the health of the human immune system and may play a role in decreasing the risk of developing diabetes.
There are several sources of vitamin D in the diet. Milk is universally fortified with vitamin D, and some yogurts are as well. Salmon, tuna, fortified whole grain cereals, and eggs are excellent dietary sources. Direct sunlight also helps the body manufacture an active form of vitamin D. Finally, you can obtain vitamin D as a vitamin supplement. Infants require 400 IU (international units), while children require 600 IU. Infants who are exclusively breastfed require this vitamin supplement, but toddlers and older kids typically can obtain an adequate amount through diet and sun exposure. At Premier Pediatrics, we test for vitamin D levels at ten years old.
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The following is a great resource on JAMA primer on vitamin D.