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Updated Vitamin D Recommendation for Children

Por Violeta Chacón, Nutrition Counselor, MyDiet™ -
Updated Vitamin D Recommendation for Children

According to the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for 2003, the recommended daily intake of this vitamin was 200 IU (IU stands forInternational Unit, which is a unit of measurement used for some vitamins and other substances). However, this recommendation has recently changed to 400 IU a day. According to the report published by the AAP in October 2008, this is a safe dose to prevent rickets in children, especially in breastfed infants.

Ricketsis a vitamin D deficiency that both children and adults may suffer from. Among its symptoms in children are: seizures, growth failure, irritability and predisposition to respiratory infections. To prevent this deficiency, you should eat adequate amounts of foods that contain vitamin D, such as fish, liver, fish oils, egg yolk, and fortified milk. Moderate sun exposure also promotes the synthesis of this vitamin in the skin.

Breast milk contains about 25 IU/L of vitamin D, so children who are exclusively breastfed might not meet their daily requirement of this vitamin. In addition, low exposure to sunlight during fall and winter could decrease the synthesis of this vitamin in the skin. The AAP recommends a 400 IU daily supplement of vitamin D for these babies, as well as for those taking a milk formula.

Children and adolescents who drink less than 1 L of breast milk or fortified formula per day do not acquire an adequate amount of this vitamin, so they should also take a daily supplement. 

Supplementation is also recommended in children at high risk of vitamin D deficiency, such as those who have chronic malabsorption of fat or those who take medications to prevent seizures.

For more information, consult the official website of the AAP:


Gartner L, Greer F, et al. Prevention of Rickets and Vitamin D Deficiency: New Guidelines for Vitamin D Intake. 2003. Pediatrics. Vol. 111, no. 4, pp. 908-910. Revised in October 2008 from; 111/4/908 # R14

Wagner C, Greer F, et al. Prevention of Rickets and Vitamin D Deficiency in Infants, Children, and Adolescents. 2008. Pediatrics. Vol 112, No. 5, pp 1142-1152. Revised in October 2008 from


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