Vitamin D

Q: Your advice in the November issue — recommending that parents generally avoid multivitamins for their kids ( — prompted me to write. I believe the American Academy of Pediatrics supports the recommendation of a daily supplement of vitamin D. I didn’t see this mentioned in your article. Do you happen to know what the current practice is for vitamin D supplementation? 

A:You are absolutely correct: The AAP recommends a daily supplement of 400 IU of vitamin D starting just after birth.  

This can be administered with supplemental vitamin D drops for breastfed and partially breastfed infants. 

For formula-fed infants, as well as older children, if they’re taking in less than 32 ounces of vitamin D-fortified formula or milk, they should also receive 400 IUs of supplemental vitamin D. 

This supplemental amount of vitamin D holds true into the adolescent age. Teenagers may also be lacking in their daily need of dietary calcium, iron and zinc intake. 

Ideally these daily recommended amounts are met by a balanced diet. But if teenagers have a poor diet or specific metabolic needs (such as particularly high athletic demands), they may need further supplementation.

Talk to your doctor or pediatrician about your child’s specific needs.