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Who Needs Vitamin D?

I was shocked when I took my baby in for her 2 month check up and her doctor told me I should be giving her a vitamin supplement. I went home and decided to do a little research, not that I don't trust our doctor, I was just curious. I was a little surprised to learn that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 400 IU/daily of Vitamin D for all infants who are exclusively breastfed.

They recommend starting the supplement “shortly after birth” and continuing until they are consuming enough fortified milk to receive proper amounts of Vitamin D. I know it’s said that Vitamin D deficiency is huge right now, and this made me wonder what other groups need Vitamin D (and probably aren’t getting it).

The Office of Dietary Supplements listed these as the groups at the highest risk of being Vitamin D deficient:

-breastfed infants, since it’s likely they are not receiving adequate amounts of Vitamin D from breast milk alone.

-older adults, over time your skin loses the ability to synthesize Vitamin D.
-people with limited exposure to the sun, a lot of times our diets alone do not provide enough Vitamin D so some sun exposure is necessary. Those who do not get much exposure to the sun may need additional supplementation.

-people with dark skin, dark skin comes from having a larger amount of pigment melanin in the epidermal layer, which has been shown to inhibit the skin’s ability to produce Vitamin D from sunlight.

- people with fat malabsorption, people with conditions such as cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease and some forms of liver disease, have a harder time absorbing dietary fat. Some dietary fat in the body is necessary in the absorption of Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin.

-people who are obese, those who have a higher percentage of body fat are found to be Vitamin D deficient because “greater amounts of subcutaneous fat sequester more of the vitamin and alter its release into the circulation”

-those who have undergone gastric bypass surgery, after a gastric bypass surgery, “part of the upper small intestine where vitamin D is absorbed is bypassed and vitamin D mobilized into the serum from fat stores may not compensate over time.”

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