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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently doubled the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D in infants, children and teenagers with hopes of preventing serious diseases. The vitamin has been linked to a wide variety of health benefits including prevention of bone disease such as rickets, osteopenia, and osteoporosis, along with autoimmune disorders, and may play a role in diabetes and certain cancers. The recommenced daily dosage has doubled from 200 IU/ day to 400 IU/day.

Frank Greer of the AAP, who announced the new recommendation, noted the importance of supplementation stating, "Supplementation is important because most children will not get enough vitamin D through diet alone." This goes for new moms breast-feeding as well. Breast milk does not contain any of the vitamin but infant formula does, so those babies on formula should not need a supplement. Dietary sources of vitamin D are limited; it is found naturally in oily fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel, and small amounts in cheese and eggs. One of the most common sources for children is vitamin D-fortified milk, but if they are not drinking at least a quart a day (4 cups), children need a supplement. However, it is important not to give your child too much vitamin D as well, which could cause serious complications.

The human body also absorbs the vitamin from the sunlight. However, with the fear of skin cancers and the use of strong sun screens on the rise in recent decades, sun screen prevents the body from being able to make the vitamin. Fifteen minutes a day is typically enough time spend in the sun to absorb the vitamin, but as winter months approach, that can be difficult for people living in colder climates.

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist to ensure that you and your family are getting the recommended dosage of vitamin D.

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