BBC News today is running a story about Vitamin D deficiency in children. A lack of Vitamin D is linked to a higher incidence of diabetes, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis as well as rickets - a disease that causes bones to become soft and deformed. The number of cases of rickets has been rising, from 183 in 1996 to 762 in 2011.
Son2 was diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency at the beginning of this year and I wrote about the issue on my NotAsAdvertised blog.
For starters, there's nowhere to plug in his computer and for seconds, he isn't that keen on other people - and other people have a nasty habit of being in outdoor places.
And with the British weather, the increased fear of letting our children out by themselves, and the need to slather our kids with sunscreen at the first hint of the vast yellow ball in the sky, it makes getting it from natural sources a bit tricky. If your child has special needs or disabilities, like Son2, this problem can only be intensified as they are far more likely to spend more time indoors.
Son2 was prescribed a vitamin D supplement, which he still takes. However, the last time I went for a repeat prescription, I was told that the GP was no longer prescribing it because so many people needed it and that we had to buy it from a health food store. So, even though children are entitled to free prescriptions, we now have to buy it for him to treat a diagnosed medical problem. For us, this isn't an issue financially, but for others, who may be low income but do not fit into the government's limited free vitamin groups, it's not going to be high on their list of priorities.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) says up to 25% of UK children are vitamin D deficient, leading to a rise in rickets cases and it's calling for a public awareness campaign - which I think is a very good idea. Only 10% of Vitamin D can be obtained naturally through food intake and one solution has been proposed to fortify food with vitamin D as we do with other vitamins - in the US most milk is fortified in this way.
But in these days of difficult economic circumstances for families it seems a bit counter-productive to refuse supplements on prescription to those with a deficiency. Of course, we're going to buy it because it isn't going to mean we have to go without something else, but many families are not in this position.
So if you want to buy it, make sure you get a good make. I get ours from Biovea because there are pure without the additives than the ones I have seen on some other sites. I also take a stronger one myself as I don't get out much either. This is the link for Biovea online - this link is the strength recommended by our GP for our 13 year old although I stress that this is specific to him. I would recommend that you ask your pharmacist or GP for advice of strength of dosage if you want to buy some for your child.