ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
CANCER
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
Transition From Home to Hospital Rarely Seamless
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
HELP TO LOSE WEIGHT ON A LOW CAL BUDGET
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
DASH Diet Has Extra Benefits for Women's Health
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Accumulated Lead May Affect Older Women's Brains
EYE CARE, VISION
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
FITNESS
Barefoot Best for Running?
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
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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