The browser you are using is too old for our website. Please visit www.aptaclub.co.uk from Chrome and you will be able to browse normally.

Toddler

      Vitamin D for toddlers

      Vitamin D Sources

      Vitamin D for toddlers

      HELLO SUNSHINE

      The essential nutrient that's hard to come by

      Vitamin D is essential for your toddler’s normal bone development and has other important functions in the body, such as supporting immune function. Generated by the body in response to sunlight, it is also available from a limited number of foods. However, it can be a challenge to get enough through diet and sunshine alone. Discover why supplementation is recommended, and what the risks are of not getting enough.

      Vitamin D: The sunshine vitamin

      Vitamin D is generated by the body when UVB rays shine on the skin. It is also found in in a small number of foods. Because the most efficient natural source of vitamin D is sunlight, it is sometimes known as the sunshine vitamin.

      As a fat-soluble vitamin, it is stored in fat tissue for later use if the intake exceeds the amount the body needs.

       

      An essential ingredient for growing bones

      Your toddler’s absorption of calcium and phosphorous depend on sufficient levels of vitamin D. This makes it essential for normal bone development and healthy teeth.

      With your toddler’s bones growing and strengthening at a rapid rate, a steady, adequate supply of vitamin D is vital for optimal development during this stage.

      Vitamin D also helps to maintain normal levels of calcium within the blood, while playing a part in immune function, growth and the ability to fight infection.

       

      Why many toddlers aren’t getting enough vitamin D

      The latitude of the UK means that we only get sufficient levels of the UVB rays required to generate vitamin D between April and September. Sunshine hours within that time are patchy, and many parents wisely use sunscreen to protect toddlers’ skin during the stronger, more effective sunlight hours. Unfortunately, this restricts the levels of sun-generated vitamin D further.

      Another barrier to sun-generated vitamin D is skin pigmentation. Children with darker skin, especially those of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin are more likely to have lower levels of vitamin D. This is because skin with more pigment requires more time in the sun to generate vitamin D than fairer skin.

      Food sources help to increase vitamin D intake, but they don’t contain enough for an adequate supply.

      There are a few food sources of vitamin D, such as oily fish, egg yolk, red meat and fortified foods (such as breakfast cereals and spreads). However, due to the potential low levels of pollutants found in oily fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel, it’s recommended that toddlers have no more than two servings per week. Some breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D, but these may provide just one quarter of recommended intakes in an average (30g) bowl.

      The Department of Health advises supplementing your toddler’s diet with vitamin D to ensure they get enough

      Supplement to be safe1

      Due to the challenges involved in getting vitamin D, the Department of Health advises supplementing your toddler’s diet with enough to meet their daily needs. They recommend:

      - If your toddler is aged 1-4 years, give them a daily vitamin D supplement of 10mcg

      - If your child is over 4 years old, give them a daily vitamin D supplement of 10mcg in the autumn and winter months at the least 

      The recommended intake of vitamin D for toddlers aged 1-4 years old is 10mcg per day

      Understanding vitamin D deficiency in children

      Insufficient intake of vitamin D can lead to a deficiency, which can increase your toddler’s risk of serious health issues, specifically:

      • Rickets – significantly low levels of vitamin D for a prolonged period can result in soft, poorly-formed bones
      • Other conditions – vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risks of conditions including type 1 and type 2 diabetes, allergies, asthma and cardiovascular disease

      You can reduce the risk of your toddler developing future health complications related to vitamin D deficiency by ensuring they get sufficient amounts during toddlerhood and childhood.

      NEXT STEPS

      Boost your toddler’s food intake of vitamin D with the following small meals and snacks:

      • Sardines on toast triangles
      • Salmon and sweetcorn mayonnaise on a jacket potato
      • Scrambled eggs
      • Fortified breakfast cereal as breakfast or snacks

       

      1. NHS. Vitamin D [Online]. 2021. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/ [Accessed April 2021]

      Last reviewed: 21st April 2021
      Reviewed by the Med affairs

      Your baby's future health begins here

      Your baby's future health begins here

      At Aptaclub, we believe that experience helps to build resilience; that each new encounter, whether in pregnancy or after birth, can shape your baby’s future development. With our scientific expertise and one-to-one round the clock support, we can help you and your baby embrace tomorrow.

      Join Aptaclub

      Related articles

      Questions about feeding and nutrition?

      Our midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.

      Your privacy is important to us and therefore we would like to explain how we use cookies on this website. With your consent, we will use cookies to measure and analyse how our website is used (analytical cookies), to tailor it to your interests (personalisation cookies), and to show you relevant advertising and information (targeting cookies) we think you will like. For more information please read the cookie statement.

      Privacy Settings

      You can choose your preferences anytime for cookies and tracking. For more information please read our cookie policy.

      • Strictly necessary

        They are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services (setting your privacy preferences, logging in, filling in forms, etc.). You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work.

      • Analytical cookies

        They allow us to count visits and traffic sources, to measure and improve the performance of our site. They show us which pages are the most and least popular and how visitors move around the site. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

      • Personalisation cookies

        They enable website’s enhanced functionality and personalization. They may be set by us or by third parties whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, some or all of these services may not function properly.

      • Targeting cookies

        They may be set through our site by our advertising partners, to build a profile of your interests and to show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.