MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We know that Vitamin D in adults is important to avoid soft bones, weak muscles and even some forms of cancer.

Now researchers are finding that a lack of Vitamin D in certain children could also lead to problems.

They call it the sunshine vitamin because our main source of it comes from the sun’s rays. It builds strong bones, keeps the heart healthy and fights infection by boosting the immune system. If adults don’t get enough, they can suffer from all kinds of illnesses including muscle weakness, osteoarthritis and heart disease.\

But what about if children are deficient if Vitamin D? Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital tested 511 children who were admitted to their pediatric intensive care unit for various reasons over a year the course of a year.

They found that 40 percent of those children had a Vitamin D deficiency and found that they became more severely ill than kids who had enough Vitamin D. But children with infections didn’t have a lower Vitamin D level than other critically ill children. They also found that a deficiency in Vitamin D was less common in younger patients, non-Hispanic white patients and in children taking Vitamin D supplements.

Because levels differed in critically ill children depending on their illnesses, the study’s authors recommended that severely ill children admitted to the hospital should be screened for risk factors that can be caused by Vitamin D deficiency.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children take about 400 international units of vitamin D daily. That’s about the amount in a standard children’s multi-vitamin.

Other ways of getting Vitamin D daily include eating dairy products like milk and yogurt. Orange juice, egg yolks and mushrooms also contain Vitamin D.

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