Vitamin D Supplementation Information
Vitamin D deficiency has emerged as a public health problem in Ireland over the past five years. In children this leads to rickets. The age at which this is most common is between three and 18 months. A factsheet outlining the issues has been developed.
A further 19 factsheets have been written by Dr Lucia Gannon and published by the HSE for GPs and Pharmacists. They provide information on the most common problems presenting in primary care, as well as an outline of benefits of breastfeeding, physiology of lactation, strategies for promotion and sources of further information and support.
See www.breastfeeding.ie for the full list of factsheets
In summary, all infants in Ireland are potentially at risk of having low vitamin D status due to the period of rapid growth, our geographic position and to various combinations of factors that adversely affect vitamin D intake and status
amongst women and children.
A recommendation to increase vitamin D intake in infants should apply to all infants aged 0-12 months irrespective of how they are fed. Supplementation to the level of 200IU (5μg) per day would ensure that all infants would be receiving at least the Adequate Intake (AI) recommended by the US Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and this would be sufficient to prevent vitamin D deficiency, although an intake of up to 400IU (10μg) per day would be more ideal.
With this recommendation, breastfed babies will not be provided with as much vitamin D as those who are fed on infant formula. However, breastfed babies will be getting sufficient vitamin D to prevent deficiency, whilst at the same time they will be gaining the enormous health advantages derived from breastfeeding.