In this article we will be discussing a very common question: vitamin d function in bone.
What Is Vitamin D All About?
Because our bodies can make Vitamin D in our skin when it is exposed to good sunlight, Vitamin D is considered a hormone. In about 1920, people noticed that children who took cod liver oil rarely got rickets. When our ancestors stopped working in the fields and entered factories or schools, rickets began to be a problem — in fact, it was commonly seen during winter months, especially in northern locations.
Why Is There A New Focus On Vitamin D Today?
Yet, many children today are not getting enough Vitamin D.
There are several reasons children today do not get enough Vitamin D. An important one is that very few foods contain substantial levels of the vitamin. Milk intake by children has steadily decreased in favor of soda or juice. Thinkstock ©2011
Children today spend a lot of time being indoors and inactive.
It is well-documented that fitness levels among children are on the decline and obesity levels are rising. Without it, they cannot build healthy bodies (or healthy bones!). In addition to affecting kids’ fitness levels, spending so much time indoors has affected the amount of Vitamin D their bodies make.
However, the American Academy of Dermatology cautions against overexposure from the sun or indoor tanning because ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and tanning beds can lead to the development of skin cancer. Sunscreen does, however, block our skin’s ability to make Vitamin D.
If A Healthy Diet And Playing Outside Will Not Provide Children With Enough Vitamin D, Then How Do We Make Sure They Get It?
Osteoporosis is associated with increased morbidity, mortality and significant economic and health costs. Sub-optimal vitamin D status has been reported in many populations but it is a particular concern in older people; thus there is clearly a need for effective strategies to optimise bone health. A number of recent studies have suggested that the role of vitamin D in preventing fractures may be via its mediating effects on muscle function (a defect in muscle function is one of the classical signs of rickets) and inflammation.
Studies have demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation can improve muscle strength which in turn contributes to a decrease in incidence of falls, one of the largest contributors to fracture incidence. Vitamin D, therefore, may influence fracture risk via a number of different mechanisms.
1,25(OH) 2 D may exert an anabolic effect in bone, apparently via the VDR in mature osteoblasts, by increasing osteoblast activity and reducing osteoclast activity.
How Much Vitamin D Should You Get?
The amount you need depends on your age: 600 IU (international units) a day for people ages 1 to 70, including women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
800 IU a day for anyone over 70 Some experts think that these recommendations are too low, especially for people who are more likely to get the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis. (Children ages 1 to 8 shouldn’t get more than 2,500-3,000 IU.).