Importance of Vitamin D in teenagers

Patient

Q: Can Vitamin D deficiency stop or delay growth in teenagers.

Doctor

A:    Certainly is very important not only for teenagers, getting enough Calcium and Vitamin D with the diet. As people age, skin cannot synthesize vitamin D as efficiently and the kidney is less able to convert vitamin D to its active hormone form. Therefore, older adults may benefit from supplemental vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency can result from a variety of causes, including inadequate exposure to sunlight (this causes a deficiency in cutaneously synthesized vitamin D), malabsorption problems, lack of vitamin D in breast milk, (this is for kids) and the effects of certain medications. Usually in young people the vitamin D deficiency causes weaker bones. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich sources of calcium; nondairy sources include vegetables, such as Chinese cabbage, kale, and broccoli, most grains do not have high amounts of calcium unless they are fortified, foods fortified with calcium include many fruit juices and drinks, tofu, and cereals. The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of Vitamin D3, due to its high safety profile, may be up to 10,000 IU per day and because of the wide role it plays in our health, consuming 2,000 to 4,000 IU per day of this vitamin when sunlight is scarce is a prudent way to improve overall health.

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