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I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. M1 finally lost her first tooth last night! Big deal in the Thompson household. Because of this recent change in M1's teeth, she decided this morning she needed soup for lunch because it would be too hard to chew...okay I'll humor her.
I found these great ramen noodle packets. The noodles are made with a variety of rice species (forbidden rice, jade pearl, exit...) yes they are packaged, but they can be a convenient meal. Always read labels! This lunch was put together in 10 minutes, cooked and packed. Not bad for a hot, healthy meal.
I left all the toppings and noodles out of the broth so she could put it together fresh at lunchtime. She helped pick out her veggies. Whenever possible let your kids help, let them have a say. It gives them a sense of ownership over what they are eating, and I have found, makes them more likely to eat healthy foods. So, she got to pick veggies and a protein for her toppings. She chose eggs, green onions, and daikon radish.
What to talk about today? It is winter, and there is an increased rate of Vitamin D deficiency, especially in children, I think that's a good place to go today.
How do we get Vitamin D
I think that most of you know that Vitamin D is converted from sunlight. But how?
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. It is made from cholesterol, that's right, cholesterol. But, you need sunlight to convert the cholesterol into Vitamin D. It is specifically the UVB rays that are necessary.
You can also get it from food. Interestingly, foods that are typically high in Vitamin D, are also high in cholesterol. The richest sources of dietary Vitamin D are:
The amount of Vitamin D converted by sunlight is variable. It is dependent of ethnicity, skin color, and nutrition. On average, though, 30 minutes of unprotected sunlight exposure from someone with pale skin provides between 10,000-20,000iu.
Why do we need Vitamin D
Vitamin D is known for its role in calcium metabolism. It has been added to calcium supplements for decades (albeit in the D2 form, message me for more info on this tragedy...) and it is essential for growing bones in children. There has been an increase in the number of cases or rickets, a bone disease caused by Vitamin D deficiency.
It is also an essential component of our hormones. This becomes increasingly important for children entering puberty. Also, add in the increases rates or premature puberty, and reproductive imbalances in young children.
In addition to these highly publicized affects, Vitamin D is also necessary for
For children it becomes increasingly important for proper bone growth and formation, immunity, hormone production and regulation, and building a healthy foundation for the prevention of degenerative diseases later in life.
To supplement or not to supplement
Many PCP's are recommending Vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D deficiency is becoming common. Why? My theory? Over use of sunscreens and poor diet.
Yes, we all want to avoid cancer from over exposure from sun. But we need UV light. It becomes the game of balance, moderation. I personally do not burn easily in the sun, which is a good indicator that I need more sun to convert Vitamin D. I don't wear sunscreen unless I will be in the sun all day. I have taught my kids the importance of hats, clothing, and we do use sunscreen, but it is not a daily routine. We will put some on the kids when we are planning to be out in the sun all day, but from day to day we do not. If you are putting sunscreen on your children first thing in the morning, whether or not they will be in the sun, you are limiting their exposure and thus creating a deficiency. To me, the risk of cancer from sunlight is not rooted in well done research. I am sure to some extent, yes, if you burn to the point of blistering and do this multiple times, you are damaging your cells and increasing your risk of cancer. By getting some sun everyday, you are not.
We come from a generation of the "low fat diet" and "cholesterol is bad." This is not the case. It makes me sad to see some still holding onto this mentality. It is not an intentional bad diet, and in fact is more common in those who are trying to eat healthy. Limiting your fats and cholesterol can be detrimental to your overall health, and is now associated more with degenerative disease. As I mentioned in my previous post on fats and children, it is important for children to consume enough healthy fats. And now, you understand why it is important for children and adults to consume enough healthy cholesterol. I am a big fan of eggs and butter for children (for those who are not allergic or sensitive).
So, do you, or do you not supplement. This is a personal decision. If you are considering supplementing, I suggest supplementing first with cod liver oil, and other food based Vitamin D sources. Second, get your kids outside without sunscreen for at least 30 minutes per day. If you are doing all of these, and find that children suffering from symptoms associated with Vitamin D deficiency, or you are worried about possibly Vitamin D deficiency, then add in an additional supplement. I usually don't recommend vitamin supplements unless we are addressing the nutrition side, and there are obvious signs or symptoms associated with deficiency.
Will a Vitamin D supplement hurt? Probobly not, if it is a D3 and is taken with a Vitamin K.