Short, dreary days call for a dose of Vitamin D – Northwest Herald

The current recommended daily allowance for individuals ages 1 to 70 is 600 IU, or international units, but more recent research at the Boston University School of Medicine recommends up to 2,000 IU. Other studies recommend even higher levels for optimal health. The confusion around the ideal daily allowance prompted a 2010 large-scale study at a Boston affiliate of Harvard University to investigate whether vitamin D can help prevent cancer, heart disease, stroke and other chronic conditions in more than 25,000 American men and women. Stay tuned – the study is expected to wrap up later this year.

Because one glass of milk provides just 100 IU of vitamin D, a piece of salmon offers 360 IU and an egg yolk under 50 IU, even the lowest recommendation of 600 IU a day is hard for most children to attain without regular sun exposure. No wonder so many studies show a vast number of kids in the United States, especially adolescents and those living in northern states, are deficient. So until the spring comes, the sun shines steadily, and you guys get off the indoor basketball court and onto the outdoor baseball field, a vitamin D supplement will join us for breakfast each morning.

Consult your doctor as to whether a supplement is right for your child. Individual needs differ based on how much time people spend outside, where they live, their skin color, the foods they eat and their use of sunscreen.

• Seidenberg is co-founder of Nourish Schools, a Washington, D.C.-based nutrition education company, and co-author of “Super Food Cards,” a collection of healthful recipes and advice.

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