Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To Vitamin or Not To Vitamin?

Malnutrition sounds like something that would affect poor people living in third world countries in Africa or North Korea. Surely in the West it shouldn't be a problem, right? We know that having a balanced diet with the right amounts of calories, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals in essential to health both for ourselves and our unborn children. Yet so many people don't get all the nutrition they need despite eating more calories than necessary. How? Sugar and empty calories. Welcome to the world of junk food. A phenomenon that's increasing as countries become more wealthy and as people become busier and seek ways to save time.

Rickets is a disease that affected many European children in the Victorian Era and is caused by lack of vitamin D, calcium or phosphorous. This in turn leads to a softening of the bones and possibly permanent disfiguration if left untreated. It seems that this condition is making a come back in our modern society due to changes in diet (children not drinking milk) and lack of sunlight (playing indoors).

Our bodies can make our own vitamin D when our skin is exposed to bright sunlight and milk and many cereals are fortified with it. But breastfed babies don't get it in their diet and children who don't drink commercially processed milk (where they add vitamin D) can be seriously in need of supplementation.

Our children drink milk and also spend a lot of time outside so they get lots of sunlight on their pale exposed skin. So they're ok. But what would you do if your child needs a supplement? Vitamins? I'm just wondering how each of you, dear readers, would handle this. Please leave a comment.

Here's the story on the BBC.

I'm off soon to deliver Steve the stuff he forgot to take with him. I'll post again tomorrow.

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