Vitamin D supplements recommended for all under 5s as rickets cases rise

13 March 2016  |  Editor

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Vitamin D supplementation is being recommended for all children under the age of 5 tom prevent rickets.

as well as all pregnant and breastfeeding women as the number of cases of rickets has quadrupled in the past 15 years.

Rickets is a vitamin D deficiency disease resulting in softening of the bones which can lead to fractures and deformity.

One woman tells her toddlers Liam’s story in a national newspaper After tripping and falling in the way that most toddlers frequently do, Liam broke his elbow in three places. "It was worrying because the injury didn't match the severity of the fall which was nothing more than a bump," said his mother.

A few months later a similar fall led to another fracture in the same arm, and blood tests confirmed a vitamin D deficiency. Now on supplements and with a normal level of vitamin D, Liam’s mother has noticed a big difference: "I was absolutely amazed by the change in him after being on the supplements which he takes in shake form. He is a lot less tired, he's got the colour back in his cheeks and seems healthier all round.“

Liam’s diet has also improved greatly, but the amount of vitamin D available from foods – even those fortified with vitamin D – is limited. Our main source is UVB rays from sunshine, which we convert in our skin to vitamin D. This is then either used to strengthen bones, or converted once more by our liver or kidneys to a hormonal form which has been linked to the prevention of many chronic diseases, from MS to cancer, due to its effect on our DNA and gene triggering.

The UVB rays we need to make vitamin D are not available in northern Europe except in the summer months, and are also blocked by sun tan lotion and sun blocks, clothes, glass, pollution, cloud cover and precipitation. With increases in both sun protection use and general levels of pollution, it is hardly surprising that incidences of rickets has increased from 183 a year to 762 since 1996.

A Sheffield couple are currently appealing a court decision to have their baby adopted on the grounds of physical abuse which the original judge presumed was the cause of the baby’s broken bones. Their first appeal was rejected, but this second appeal comes at the eleventh hour in light of new evidence that the baby may have had congenital rickets, and so sustained the bone injuries during his forceps delivery or in the womb 2

Selected Vitamin D products for children