Children who play outside in the sun and drink milk are wrongly thought to be getting the recommended daily dose of vitamin D. Interestingly, most kids, adolescents and adults are diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency due to increased sunscreen usage and lifestyle changes.
A new study has found out that children with low levels of vitamin D may be at more risk for anaemia- a condition involving lower-than-normal levels of red blood cells in the body i.e. the levels of vitamin D and haemoglobin in children seem to be directly proportional to each other. Vitamin D deficiency might cause anaemia in kids, reports this study. The team of researchers analysed the blood samples from more than 10,400 children and discovered that there were consistently lower levels of vitamin D in youngsters with anaemia. The American Academy of Paediatricians (AAP) recommends babies to have 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day during the first year of life, beginning in the first few days, and 600 IU for anyone over the age of 1.
As compared to kids with normal vitamin D levels, kids who had vitamin D levels below 30 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) were nearly twice as likely to have anaemia. According to the study, kids with vitamin D levels below 30 ng/ml had mild vitamin D deficiency whereas those with levels at or less than 20 ng/ml had severe deficiency. Both conditions required treatment with vitamin D supplements.
14 percent of black children had anaemia, which was much higher than the 2 percent among white children, the researchers found out. Overall, black children also had lower levels of vitamin D, but their anaemia risk did not increase until their vitamin D levels were far lower than those of white children.
Dr. Jeffrey Fadrowski, a paediatric kidney specialist at John Hopkins Hospital said ,”If our findings are confirmed through further research, low vitamin D levels may turn out to be a readily modifiable risk factor for anaemia that we can easily tackle with supplements.”
The researchers explained that numerous mechanisms could account for this association, including the effect of vitamin D on red blood cell production in the bone marrow or its ability to control immune inflammation, a known cause of anaemia.