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What is Rickets?
The main function of vitamin D is to help the body absorb calcium – the building block of bones. It also helps the body in bone development, alleviation of any inflammation and immune functioning.
Rickets is the result of deficiency of vitamin D or calcium or both together. Symptoms of rickets include a deformed skeleton with pain, fragile bones and poor development and growth of the child.
Though bony abnormalities, which are associated with rickets may be of different types, but, the root cause leading to rickets is the same. Rickets caused due to deficiency of vitamin D and calcium is totally preventable. The first step for treating rickets is to ensure that the child is getting enough calcium through a calcium-rich diet. Simultaneously, supplementation of vitamin D has to be initiated.
The deficiency of vitamin D is reversible and balancing of this essential nutrient not only improves the mineralization of bones, but also improves the bone quality.
On the other hand, excess vitamin D is also not good for the body as it can absorb excess calcium which would further lead to kidney stones and heart diseases. The recommended level of vitamin D in International Units (IU) is:
Certain people may not have enough vitamin D, including breastfeeding infants since milk is not rich enough in vitamin D, people with dark skin who cannot produce the required amount of vitamin D from the sun, obese people and people with Crohn’s disease or celiac disease. These people need extra vitamin D supplements for their body.
Since our body is unable to synthesize vitamin D on its own, it has to rely on outside sources for helping it with this essential nutrient.
To prevent rickets, take a diet rich in vitamin D, especially foods that have been fortified and include vitamin D like dairy products and foods that have a natural supply of vitamin D like fatty fish and cod liver oil. Click here to know more about how to keep your child’s vitamin D level balanced.
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