Studies have shown that an overwhelming percentage, around 85%, of adolescents with type 1 diabetes have inadequate levels of vitamin D. Type 1 diabetics are known to usually have less bone density and are considered to be at high risk for bone fractures. We know that adequate levels of vitamin D lead to stronger bones and higher bone density, that’s why we have added vitamin D to fortified milk. What you may not know is that hindered vitamin D absorption and synthesis could have a negative effect on your child’s moods, sleep patterns, stress levels, mental health and cognitive abilities. Are underlying medical conditions, race or body fat percentage preventing your child from converting vitamin D into a usable, active hormone form?
The current FDA recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 400 units of vitamin D per day for adults, 200 units per day for adolescents. For a healthy adult to get a minimum daily recommended amount, they would need to drink four 8-ounce glasses of milk every day. You can also get vitamin D from the sun. For 400 units, that would be about thirty minutes of peak hour sun, four days per week. But there are many factors that can affect how much vitamin D you actually get and use from these sources.
Relying on the sun or milk for vitamin D may not be feasible. Taking vitamins and supplements is usually necessary. People with hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease or liver disease should not necessarily take vitamin D supplements because of their inability to convert it to an active hormone form, so speak with your endocrinologist if your child has any of these conditions. Furthermore, you should be aware that the darker your skin is and the higher body fat percentage you have, the less vitamin D you will absorb from the sun. Also, if your child eats a diet low in monounsaturated fats or if they have a condition that causes a reduction in fat absorption, they will also have a hindered ability to absorb vitamin D and may need to supplement.
Complications with diabetes are often brought on by stress. Stress levels in general are kept in check by vitamin D. Additionally, blood sugar levels affect mood and cognition. Mood swings and lack of cognition brought on by blood sugar fluctuations can be lessened and even eliminated by maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D in the body in some cases. This is because vitamin D increases the serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that controls moods in the brain.
Adequate vitamin D translates into adequate serotonin. Serotonin regulates stress, anger, depression, aggression, appetite, behavior and more. Since stress aggravates and worsens diabetes symptoms and risks, controlling the serotonin levels in a juvenile diabetic, type 1 or type 2, may help reduce health risks. These risks include psychosis as a result of sleep deprivation, depression, long-term high or low blood glucose levels, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Have your child’s vitamin D levels checked by their doctor. If levels are low or deficient, try to work in food sources of vitamin D, such as shrimp, salmon, cod liver oil and vitamin D fortified milk. You may want to ask your doctor about the use of vitamins and supplements to increase vitamin D levels. Have levels regularly checked to monitor absorption and proper dosage for your child.
About the Author: Phil Le Breton is owner at Wholesale Nutrition. He has a strong interest in helping people achieve greater brain and body health. For more information about C-Salts, otherwise known as the best Vitamin C, or about other Vitamin C powder products, visit http://www.nutri.com where you can buy Vitamins and Supplements of the highest quality.