How aware are you about the importance of vitamin D for your baby? And how informed are you about the consequences your baby might have to face due to a vitamin D deficiency? Vitamin D is one of the most needed nutrients for your baby, and it is something you, as a mother, should definitely know about.
This post talks about vitamin D with respect to babies. Would you like to know more? Please go ahead.
What Is Vitamin D?
The vitamin that maintains healthy bones and overall good health is Vitamin D. It also plays a major role in fighting infections and makes sure the muscles, heart, and brain work efficiently. (1)
- Strengthens the immune system
- Improves muscle and cardiovascular function
- Helps the respiratory system
- Promotes brain development
- Has anti-cancer effects
Unlike other vitamins, Vitamin D can be generated by the human body. An exposure to sufficient sunlight leads to its synthesis in the skin. On the other hand, no food can help you in replenishing the vitamin
Also, when there is a sufficient quantity of Vitamin D, the body converts it into a hormone called calcitriol, or “activated Vitamin D”. This in turn helps in regulating the levels of calcium and phosphorous and in the mineralization of bones.
[ Read: Baby Development Milestone Chart ]
How Does Vitamin D Work?
When the human body is exposed to sunlight, a number of chemical reactions take place. The absorbed sunlight in the skin is converted to vitamin D and is sent to the liver. Similarly, when all the sources of vitamin D enter the body, be it in the form of food or other supplements, the gut sends them to the liver. This in turn changes into a substance called 25(OH)D, which is sent to all the parts of the body.And as it reaches the kidneys, it converts 25(OH) into activated vitamin D. The two major roles of activated vitamin D are:
- Vitamin D manages calcium in the blood, gut, and bones.
- Helps cells all over the body to communicate properly.
[ Read: Vitamin A For Babies ]
Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency In Babies:
Often, symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are not visible. Rather, they can be vague or even non-specific. A general irritability or fussiness might be the only pointers. But this can easily go unnoticed. Hence, watch for some of these symptoms in your babies to find out whether your little one is vitamin D fit.
1. Soft Skull:
Unlike in healthy babies, the solidification process of the skull bones to join together right after childbirth is limited in infants that have a Vitamin D deficiency. This results in an unusually soft scalp in the infant that puts her in danger of sustaining a severe fall.
2. Delayed Achievements Of Milestones:
One major reason your Paediatrician keeps on asking whether your baby has achieved milestones appropriate to her age, is to check the baby’s vitamin levels. For instance, a Vitamin D deficient baby is likely to find it tough to sit up by herself or effortlessly crawl. In some cases, her limbs may even appear swollen due to abnormally wide bones. She might even show restlessness due to weak muscles and subsequent pain in the bones, which can develop as a result of Vitamin D deficiency.
3. Bone Deformities:
Outwardly bowed legs and a crooked spine can be the signs of bone deformities in your baby. Insufficient Vitamin D levels, hence, deter healthy development in babies.
[ Read: Bow Legs In Babies ]
4. Poor Growth:
Height is usually affected more than the weight. It is seen that babies with insufficient stores of vitamin D take a longer time to take their first walking steps.
4. Tooth Delay:
Children with Vitamin D deficiency will show signs of delayed teething. This indicates that the growth of milk teeth has been affected.
5. Weak Immune System:
Babies are more prone to infections and some diseases when they have an acute deficiency of Vitamin D. Respiratory disorders, in particular, are visible in such babies. This occurs due to weak chest muscles and a soft rib cage.
Who Are At Risk?
Though every baby requires sufficient proportions of vitamin D to stay fit and fine, some of them can have a highter need of the vitamin. This can be due to an insufficiency in the quantities transferred to the fetus from the mother’s body, which in turn is vitamin D deficient. As a result, such a baby has a higher risk of having a vitamin D deficiency than others. Similarly, there are other instances also where few babies are likely to suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. Take a look at them.
- The body is unable to make enough vitamin D
- Lack of vitamin D in the diet
- Those who cover the skin mostly
- Who are mostly indoors
- Have darker skin
- Who are breastfed for a long time
- Whose mothers suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency
[ Read: Why Do Breastfed Babies Need Vitamin D ]