ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Majority of College Students Report Backpack-Related Pain
Soccer's a Winner for Building Bone Health in Girls
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
CANCER
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
CAREGIVING
Falls Are Top Cause of Injury, Death Among Elderly
Medication Errors Could Be Cut: Experts
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
Vitamin B12 Key to Aging Brain
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
Heavy Traffic Can Be Heartbreaking
EYE CARE, VISION
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
FITNESS
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
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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