October 2015 —– As clocks go back and vitamin D deficiency risk increases, new research reveals parents are unaware of the critical health benefits of the sunshine vitamin.
Misconceptions as mum’s think vitamin D can be found in chocolate, wine and orange juice and some Health Care Professionals think vitamin D improves your hearing
Seven out of 10 mums and mums-to-be are not aware of government advice on the benefits of taking vitamin D – with one in 10 saying they are not planning to give the ‘essential sunshine vitamin’ to their children, according to new research from baby experts Colief.
The new research on vitamin D awareness among mums, mums-to-be and Health Care Professionals (HCPs) reveals confusion on both the benefits vitamin D can provide AND the advice given by HCPs and GPs.
The research shows that over a third of mums (38%) did not know the importance of vitamin D for their children – maintaining healthy bones and teeth – and are equally unsure of where it is found and how to get it. The study found that nearly half (43%) are not aware that vitamin D is made in the skin during the summer months and many were mistaken in thinking that vitamin D could be found in the following foods:
- Chocolate 5%
- Wine 2%
- Cheese 13%
- Orange Juice 15%
- Wheat 6%
The Health Care Professionals taking part in the study were asked who seeks advice from them about taking vitamin D. It revealed that parents of newborn babies (42%), breastfeeding mums (36%) and parents of children aged 1-5 years old (40%) are the most common groups who are seeking advice on vitamin D supplements, which shows a thirst for knowledge from UK parents. However, when HCPs were asked to identify the key benefits of vitamin D, 28% said it improves hearing and less than half (48%) said that the vitamin boosts the immune system.
And some HCPs are equally as mistaken as mums when it comes to the knowledge of what foods vitamin D could be found in, with large numbers thinking vitamin D could be found in the following:
- Oranges 22%
- Nuts 16%
- Meat 28%
- Apples 16%
- Bananas 28%
HCPs were also asked to name common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency but less than a quarter (24%) identified bowed legs as a common deficiency indicator – while over a third (34%) were unable to identify the difference between vitamin D2 and D3.
Nutritionist and Colief Baby Panel expert Judy More said: “Health professionals should be recommending vitamin D3 supplements. Vitamin D3 is the form that is produced in our skin when we are exposed to sunlight. Giving vitamin D3 rather than D2 keeps higher levels of vitamin D in the blood over a period longer time.
“It’s vital that mums-to-be and parents are aware of the health benefits of vitamin D and give their children a supplement,. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should also take one.” Judy continues. “Not all of us get enough vitamin D from sunlight on our skin when we are outside because in the UK we can only make it in the months from April to September.”
With only 19% of mums feeling they had been clearly advised by their HCPs about taking vitamin D, Sharon Skelton from Colief said: “We shouldn’t be seeing cases of rickets rise in 2015. Vitamin D is so important for under 5s, pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as the elderly but our research shows a real issue with the education around why vitamin D is so important both in parents and health professionals. We are really keen to highlight this and support further awareness into its benefits. If parents are concerned about their child’s diet, a simple D3 supplement can make a real difference.”
Children need vitamin D for developing strong teeth and bones and a healthy immune system, yet in 2015, it has recently been reported in the media that vitamin D deficiency-related diseases are still on the rise in UK children despite simple ways of getting the vitamin into their diets. The dangers of not getting the required levels of vitamin D are bone-deformity diseases like rickets, which causes bones to become soft and weak, bowed legs, muscle weakness and cases of diabetes.
The guidelines outlined by the Government say that all babies and young children aged six months to five years should take a daily supplement of vitamin drops containing 7.5 micrograms of vitamin D , to help them meet their requirements.
Colief Vitamin D3 Drops
Developed by Colief, experts in baby health, Colief Vitamin D3 Drops is a natural supplement giving you the reassurance that both you and your baby are getting the right amount of vitamin D, vital for developing strong teeth and bones and a healthy immune system. Topping up your baby’s vitamin D levels also protects them from the more serious effects of deficiency, such as the childhood bone disorder rickets.
Offered in the preferred form of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), in a pure coconut oil base with no added ingredients, each 20ml bottle of Colief Vitamin D3 Drops provides a five-month supply for infants and children and a four-month supply for pregnant or breastfeeding women. These vitamin D3 Drops can be mixed with food or a drink, or given/taken directly by mouth.