3 Myths Moms Believe About Vitamin D
We came into motherhood with nothing but a prayer on the basics of all things regarding our child. I know I took a lot of information from friends and family as gospel, but for some reason the things I believed about vitamin D were stuck in my head from my teen years laying out on my friend's roof. So if you're anything like me, you probably need a refresher. Because the fact is, you likely have believed one of these (if not all) at some point in your life! Let’s dive in.
MYTH: The Sun is the only way to get Vitamin D
TRUTH: Whole foods and milk are great sources of Vitamin D
Most milk these days has been fortified with Vitamin D to lower the risk of Rickets in children. Rickets is a disorder involving weakened bones (I bet you thought calcium was the culprit). Also, whole foods like salmon, tuna and eggs include an adequate amount for your daily dose. Even breakfast cereal is a great source of Vitamin D, believe it or not. Baby formula and children's vitamins are great for ensuring the needs are met with your child as well, without the fuss. The exception is, of course, with breastfeeding moms who are required to give a supplement. Talk to your pediatrician if you are nursing for more information.
MYTH: I don't need to put sunscreen on my child because I want them to get Vitamin D
TRUTH: 10 Minutes of unprotected exposure is all you need
This is the one myth I believed the longest! Let me explain how Vitamin D works. When exposed to the sun’s UV-B rays, your skin’s protein converts into Vitamin D, which regulates calcium levels. This is why it is necessary for bone health! There is a catch. Excess exposure to this UV-B light damages your skin cells, because your body will dispose of the extra vitamin to avoid overload. This damage of your cells over time can lead to the "C" word. Cancer. How to prevent it? Applying sunscreen or covering up before heading out the door is your best defense. In fact, studies show that people who use at least SPF-15 sunscreen regularly report more regulated levels of Vitamin D than those who skip the lather. That means you are actually hurting yourself (and your kids) when you don't apply sunscreen, and that extra exposure is now damaging the skin without the added benefits of the vitamin. So how much unprotected exposure does one need? 10 minutes. That is the equivalent of a quick trip to the grocery store in a t-shirt on a sunny day. Therefore, you should always protect you and your child with clothing, hats and sunscreen when outdoors for any significant amount of time (which we now know means only 10 minutes).
MYTH: We are stuck inside all day, we must be deficient in Vitamin D
TRUTH: Very few people are actually Vitamin D deficient, you are likely not one of them
Do you have a photosensitive disorder or are allergic to the sun? Do you have serious chronic fatigue? Have you been on a long-term steroid prescription? Do you suffer from a GI Disease? Have you recently been diagnosed with psoriasis? If none of the above pertain to you, then you are not at risk to be deficient! Be kind with yourself and take this worry out of the things you need to be concerned about, as you are likely fine. Of course, consult your PCP if you are at all concerned about you or your child’s vitamin D levels.
There you go! Three myths that I’ve believed at some point in my life, and likely you too. Since I've become a mother, it's only piqued my curiosity about these things. What are the takeaways? It's okay to eat cereal for breakfast. Make sure to apply sunscreen everyday. Don't worry too much. And the #1 way to boost your child's protection? CLOTHING. Clothing is your best friend when it comes to protection, especially hats.