Dr. M's Women and Children First Podcast

Dr. M's Women and Children First Podcast

It’s Winter, Are Your Children Vitamin D Deficient? (Archived Pedcast)

February 09, 2020


Our great grandmothers knew that vitamin D deficiency was a big problem for her children, hence the daily fight over giving your grandfather his cod liver oil. Great Grandma didn't know what vitamin D was or what was in cod liver oil, but she knew it kept her kids healthy. How did she figure all this out, long before the era of biochemistry? I don’t know. All I can figure is that she was truly a genius. But now this old fashion disease, vitamin D deficiency, and its many variants, are making a comeback. So in this pedcast, we are going to learn more about vitamin D and how you can avoid your children from becoming D-ficient in this important chemical of their bodies.


Musical Intro
Pediatricians Catch on Faster than Adult Doctors
I think it is fair to say that pediatricians catch on faster than adult doctors. First, diseases are recognized in babies, then in older people. That's the way it seems to play out. Remember toxic shock back in the 70’s that terrible deadly ICU type disease that adult women were getting. Eventually, that disease was pinned down to these women's use of super-absorbent tampon that promoted an overgrowth of a toxigenic staph aureus.  This germ was deadly. Pediatricians had recognized a similar disease in non-tampon using children years earlier and called it staph scalded skin disease. Oh, and what about in the 1980’s when the flesh eating strep made an appearance? Well, pediatricians have known about that for a long time as well. They called it erysipelas. Oh and shingles, don’t forget shingles. Well, shingles is nothing more than chickenpox, a baby disease, coming out in a localized way. Now old people get a chickenpox shot to make sure that they don’t get this dreaded old age disease. Well, the latest baby disease to make adult headlines is rickets and vitamin D deficiency. Rickets is a baby bone disease usually caused by vitamin D deficiency. And you know it; adult doctors have begun to recognize that many of adults are vitamin D deficient. Furthermore, many adult diseases are being tracked down to vitamin D deficiency. Adults don’t get rickets because they are not growing but they can have other problems from a lack of vitamin D, as you are about to see.
Science Lane- Essential facts to Know about Vitamin D
Sometimes in these talks, I take a stroll down Opinion Lane, but today, we are going to make a detour down Science Drive.  Vitamin D, what is it?  It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning this vitamin is stored in fat for long periods of time. A little vitamin D comes from foods, but the vast majority of the vitamin D that your child has in their body comes from their own production of it. Production occurs in their skin when they are exposed to ultraviolet light, particularly UVB light.  Once this vitamin/hormone is formed in their skin, their livers and kidneys put some final touches on it and it becomes an active substance in their bodies. And here is a key point to remember- vitamin D unlocks your child's absorption of calcium and phosphorus, the minerals that are needed for them to make strong bones. Without enough vitamin D, infants, children and adults just can’t keep their bone strength optimal. There are just not enough minerals absorbed to make their bones really hard. If there is a severe deficiency of minerals in the bones, we call that disease rickets in babies or osteoporosis in adults.
Vitamin D deficiency is not just for babies anymore.
As I said before, the whole vitamin D story has been getting more complicated recently now that adult investigators have linked its deficiency to a whole host of adult diseases—namely multiple sclerosis, adult onset diabetes, immune dysfunction and certain types of cancer- colon and breast. It turns out that there are vitamin D receptors on every cell in your body so it makes sense that vitamin D deficiency may cause some other disease processes other tha...