The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its vitamin D recommendations for infants, children, and adolescents, now calling for 400 IU per day beginning in the first few days of life.

The change is expected to combat rickets, a condition that still occurs in adolescents and infants in the United States—particularly infants who are breastfed exclusively. Vitamin D deficiencies in the mother’s diet and breast milk mean that the child needs supplementation.

“Because there are limited natural dietary sources of vitamin D, and adequate sunshine exposure for the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D is not easily determined for a given individual and may increase the risk of skin cancer, the recommendations to ensure adequate vitamin D status have been revised to include all infants, including those who are exclusively breastfed, and older children and adolescents,” explain researchers (Pediatrics. 2008;122:1142-1152). “The revision is based on evidence from new clinical trials and the historical precedence of safely giving 400 IU of vitamin D per day in the pediatric and adolescent population.”

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