Vitamin D3 is Safe in Kids!

May 28, 2008

Vitamin D3 is Safe in Kids!  We can extend our recommendation 

 Competency # 15 Vitamins                   Reference: Barclay and Vega, J Clin Endo and Meta May 2008 

 It’s official.  It’s safe to give kids down to age 10 2,000 Units of a day of Vitamin D.  We haven’t had the research to prove it up till now.  Well, not in an official dosing study.  We have had Hyponnen’s research from Finland where newborns were given 2,000 U a day for the first year of life from 1945 till 1969.  

In retrospect, it was found that those kids had an 80% lower rate of insulin-dependent diabetes.  But that was a retrospective study based on population events after the fact.  Couldn’t quite say it passed the rigors of a closely watched population.  Well, now we have a closely watched population. This study was done both short and long term by Drs Vega and Barclay and published just this last week.  The kids were, on average, about 13.7 years old, and were given either 1400 U or 14,000 U a week for eight weeks and studied intensively, or for a full year and studied every few months.  

What they found was very simple.  There was no rise in serum calcium in either group.  Their Vit D blood levels rose from 15 ng to 19 ng if they got 1,400 U a week and from 15 ng to 36 ng if they got 14,000 units a week.  No one got kidney stones.  There was no observed toxicity. What this suggests is clear and simple.  1400 U a day raises your Vit D blood level by only 4 ng.  You are still below the important threshold of 32 ng.   Fourteen hundred units a week is only 200 a day.  That’s the official recommendation in a vitamin pill.  It’s not enough!  Fourteen thousand units a week is 2.000 units a day.  That got the kids to a blood level of 36.  That’s just barely enough. 

 If you live in the tropics and get sun year around, your blood level would be 45-60.  In Wisconsin, our blood level gets up into the 40s and 50s during the summer, depending on how much sun we get.  Young kids, with young skin will make 15-20,000 Units of Vit D if they get about 20-30 minutes of sun.  So it doesn’t make intuitive sense to fear giving more than 200 Units a day.  

But that’s where our official recommendations have been stuck for years. It’s time to raise your personal recommendations.  For kids in your family, you can safely now prescribe 2,000 Units a day will full confidence.  Knowing the Finnish research, we need to be considering our newborns soon too.  I would give it to mine. If you have pigment in your skin, you may need much more.  If you are overweight, ditto. WWW.  

What will work for me?  Listening to the radio this morning on the way to work, Dr. Oz from the Oprah show was talking about Vit D.  If it’s on Oprah and Public Radio, time for it to be on your kitchen table.   Then, tell your kids to eat their vegetables and go play outdoors.  

The column was written by Dr. John E. Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI. (262-784-5300)