Vitamin D and Rickets
What’s the connection between vitamin D and rickets? Rickets can be defined as a condition when the bones become soft and fragile, caused by bad metabolism of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D. This condition can result in serious bone deformities. Rickets is commonly seen in children who live in poor countries.
In most cases, rickets is caused by vitamin D deficiency and/or lack of calcium. Sometimes, severe vomiting and diarrhea can lead to deficiency of calcium and vitamin D. Rickets are also seen in adults, but such cases are not very common. This condition usually affects children.
The most common symptoms include:
● Dental problems
● Weak bones
● Pain in bones
● Weak muscles
● Skeletal deformities
● Deformities of pelvic and spine
● Growth problems
● Low calcium levels in blood
● Soft skull
● Harrison’s groove
As we said, vitamin D deficiency is the most common cause of rickets. Let us learn more about this important vitamin.
Vitamin D is produced in the skin during the exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet light makes it possible for skin cells to perform the conversion of inactive vitamin D to its active form. If there is a deficiency of vitamin D, calcium will not be absorbed properly, which will further lead to dental and skeletal deformities.
What are the sources of vitamin D?
Vitamin D is normally found in certain foods, like eggs, butter, margarine, fish liver oil, dairy products, fortified milk, tuna, salmon, etc.
Who is at risk of getting vitamin D deficiency?
● As you can see, these foods are animal-derived, so if you are a vegetarian, you may lack vitamin D. It is important to talk to your nutritionist and see what supplements you can use to keep your vitamin D levels normal.
● Infants who are exclusively fed on breast milk are at risk of becoming deficient in vitamin D. Formula milk contains vitamin D, so it should be added to the baby’s diet. Talk to your doctor about this.
● Children who don’t spend enough time in the sun are at risk of getting deficient in vitamin D. If your child is always wearing sunscreen, this may prevent sunlight from reaching the skin. Many people believe that sun exposure is harmful, but this is not quite true. It is not healthy to spend too much time in the sun, but twenty minutes a day will be beneficial. Make sure to spend at least twenty minutes in the sun without using sunscreen.
● Calcium and phosphorus supplementation will be helpful in preventing rickets. Regular exposure to sunlight will be very helpful.
● 400 International units of vitamin D is considered a good dose for children. However, you have to consult your doctor about this before you actually give your child any kind of supplements.
● Vitamin D3 is more effective than vitamin D2, simply because the absorption of D3 is faster. This supplement is widely used in cases of vitamin D deficiency. It can be used as an alternative to sun exposure in people who have skin problems.