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Aurora Children's Health warns about adolescent mood changes and the link to vitamin D

Are you blaming your teenager's moodiness on just being a teen?

Maybe you should be looking at their vitamin D levels instead.

The Medical Director for Aurora Children's Health, Dr. Kevin Dahlman, tells CBS 58 News that not one week goes by in his practice that he hasn't tested an adolescent patient for a vitamin D deficiency. And it's been that way for a decade that he's had his practice.

It's shocking when you consider we are the dairy state, but food intake hasn't been sufficient.

Some may focus on consumption of eggs, cheese, and other dairy.

Dr. Dahlman says it's time to focus on supplements.

He warns that parents will have to be pro-active, since the signs of a deficiency are subtle at first.

"Vitamin D has these really non specific and systemic symptoms," explains Dr. Dahlman. "So it's hard to pinpoint if that's what's going on. But it is important to think about?"

What are the signs to look for in our children for vitamin D deficiency?

·Head sweats
·Noticeable and unexpected weakness
·Cavities
·Aches and pains
·Feeling slightly depressed or “down-in-the-dumps”

Now that the days are lessening, the amount of Vitamin D we are getting is getting lower and lower. What should parents do differently for children in the winter months to make up for getting less sun exposure?

It’s not necessarily something you should do only in winter, but it is definitely more difficult to get enough vitamin D in winter. Year round you should be sure to eat a healthy diet full of dark, leafy green vegetables, eggs and vitamin D-fortified dairy products. That means that the manufacturers add vitamin D to these foods.

However, it is not possible to get the recommended daily dose of Vitamin D simply from food sources alone.

We recommend that parents give children a multivitamin with vitamin D, year round, but especially in winter.

How much recommended Vitamin D should children be taking?

It depends on the age of the child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that exclusively and partially breastfed infants receive supplements of 400 IU/day of vitamin D shortly after birth and continue to receive these supplements until they are weaned and consume less than 1,000 mL/day of vitamin D-fortified formula or whole milk.

Similarly, all non-breastfed infants ingesting less than 1,000 mL/day of vitamin D-fortified formula or milk should receive a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU/day.

AAP also recommends that older children and adolescents who do not obtain 400 IU/day through vitamin D-fortified milk and foods should take a 400 IU vitamin D supplement daily.

Ask your pediatrician if you’re unsure. There is no doubt your child’s doctor is keeping up with the latest research and will have a good, firm opinion on the matter of vitamin D dosage and safety.



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