Article By: Dr. Evangelynn Honegger
Dr. Evangelynn Honegger is the Lead Clinic Physician at TRUEcare Integrative Medicine, an integrative naturopathic family medicine, acupuncture, and functional nutrition practice in Kirkland, WA.
As kiddos are outside playing in the sun during the summer days ahead, you might think they are getting all the Vitamin D they need... But that may not be the case despite how appealing soaking up the summer sun may be.
Yes, Vitamin D is made by sunshine, however, we often live in areas where the sun isn’t always available to stimulate Vitamin D absorption adequately in our skin. Whether through lifestyle factors or genetics, many variables can impact the body’s ability to make Vitamin D: geographic location, skin pigmentation and darker skin tones, layers of clothing, spending less time outside due to temperature extremes, etc. Whatever the environment may be, many of us actually enter the summer season with suboptimal levels of Vitamin D.
1) What are the benefits of Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a nutrient powerhouse. Almost every cell in the human body has Vitamin D receptors, and it's much more than just a vitamin. Vitamin D isn’t just for bone health but also for supporting our immune system, reducing inflammation, and promoting healthy hormone production and muscle function. It may even boost mood and energy levels.
Here are several reasons to focus on optimizing your kiddo's Vitamin D levels year-round:
- Immune support – When our Vitamin D levels are low, we can have compromised immune function.
- Strong muscles – Low Vitamin D often decreases muscle strength, recovery, and performance.
- Metabolism – Vitamin D impacts healthy blood sugar with its supporting role in the secretion of insulin, our body’s main hormone to support healthy blood sugar balancing.
- Mood – Vitamin D receptors are involved in supporting healthy levels of serotonin to promote balanced mood.
- Heart health – We even have receptors located in the heart and blood vessels! Vitamin D helps keep these important circulatory tissues strong and aid in recovery if injured.
- Bones, bones, bones – We need Vitamin D to help direct healthy bone mineral levels. Vitamin D helps show calcium where it needs to go in the body.
Knowing how much Vitamin D to consume daily is not a one-size-fits-all answer. Make sure to adjust your child's dose by following blood lab levels with your doctor. Your primary care doctor or pediatrician can help you test this. Often kids and adults both need to build-up healthy stores by taking Vitamin D every day, even in summer months.
So, should kiddos take a Vitamin D supplement year-round, even in summer? I get asked this question often, and the short answer (and the answer I advocate for) is yes. Many would benefit from taking Vitamin D year-round consistently to help maintain proper stores for healthy bones and teeth, immune system function, healthy hormone production, and mood and energy!
2) How do you choose the right Vitamin D supplement?
When it comes to choosing a Vitamin D supplement for your children, there are 2 sources:
- Vitamin D2
- Vitamin D3
Not all vitamins are created equal though... So, make sure you’re using a Vitamin D3 supplement, not Vitamin D2 (which has been shown to be less effective)!
If you’re looking for a reliable boost of the "sunshine" vitamin year-round, check out Renzo’s Dynamite D3. It’ll keep your kiddo covered in all seasons.
Renzo's Vitamins provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice.