ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
Vitamin K Doesn't Slow Bone Loss
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
CANCER
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Smog Tougher on the Obese
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
DIET, NUTRITION
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
EYE CARE, VISION
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
FITNESS
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
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Too Many Infants Short on Vitamin D

Most infants in the United States aren't getting enough vitamin D and should be given supplements, a new federal government report shows.

In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics raised the recommended daily requirement of vitamin D for infants from 200 International Units (IU) a day to 400 IU, the researchers noted. However, too few infants are getting these new levels.

"Vitamin D receptors are present in almost every type of cell in the body," said lead researcher Cria G. Perrine, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epidemic Intelligence Service in the Office of Workforce and Career Development, and Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity.

Lack of vitamin D has been linked to many diseases including cancer, type 1 diabetes and respiratory problems, Perrine added.

Vitamin D is also essential for bone development, Perrine said. Although there is no national estimate, many kids are still getting rickets, which is a softening of the bones that can lead to fractures and deformities.

"Most infants, starting at birth, will need a vitamin D supplement," Perrine said.

To make sure your baby is getting enough vitamin D, Perrine said there are vitamin D drops and liquid multivitamins for infants. "Pretty much all the drops are single doses for 400 IUs," the researcher noted.

The report is published in the March 22 online edition of Pediatrics.

For the study, Perrine's team collected data on infants included in the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, which was done from 2005 to 2007. Using these data, the researchers estimated how many infants were getting the recommended levels of vitamin D. They estimated these levels for babies from 1 month to 10.5 months.

The researchers found that among infants who were exclusively breast-fed, only 5 percent to 13 percent, depending on age, were getting enough vitamin D. For infants who were breast-fed but also got formula, 28 percent to 35 percent were getting 200 IUs of vitamin D a day, but only 9 percent to 14 percent were getting 400 IUs a day.

For infants fed exclusively with formula, 81 percent to 98 percent were getting 200 IUs a day, but only 20 percent to 37 percent were getting the recommended 400 IUs.

"In the past, it was assumed that children receiving formula didn't need a vitamin D supplement, because they were getting it from the formula," Perrine said.

Although they were getting enough formula to meet the 200 IU recommendation, most formula-fed infants won't get enough vitamin D to meet the 400 IU recommendation, Perrine noted.

In addition, the investigators found that only 1 percent to 13 percent of infants were being given a vitamin D supplement.

"Most infants need a vitamin D supplement, and we are not only talking about only breast-fed children," Perrine said.

Samantha Heller, a dietitian, nutritionist and exercise physiologist, said that "low levels of vitamin D may not seem like a big deal but we are finding out it is. Research is suggesting that low vitamin D levels are linked to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, as well as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, mood dysregulation, muscle problems, certain cancers and more."

Heller added: "Sun exposure is one of the best ways to get vitamin D since it is not found in many foods. However, for people living in northern latitudes the sun is not strong enough to generate vitamin D production many months of the year. In addition, we encourage people to use sunscreen to protect against skin cancers, which also minimizes skin's ability to produce vitamin D."

Supplements are the next best option, Heller said. "Experts now recommend a minimum of 800 to 1,000 IU per day for adults and children year round. In July 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that infants who are exclusively or partially breast-fed receive 400 IU of supplemental vitamin D daily, beginning in the first few days of life," she said.

"This study suggests that parents are unaware of the need for vitamin D supplementation in infants and other studies show the same for older children. Health professionals need to get the word out to the public that infants, children, adolescents and adults need to get appropriate amounts of vitamin D all year," she added.

SOURCES: Cria G. Perrine, Ph.D., Epidemic Intelligence Service, Office of Workforce and Career Development, and Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., dietitian, nutritionist and exercise physiologist, Fairfield, Conn.; March 22, 2010, Pediatrics, online