Who needs Vitamin D?

Although increasing vitamin D levels in adults may boost calcium absorption, there appears to be no such clear association in children, according to Texas-based researchers.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and plays a key role in maintaining healthy bones and normal muscle function. "Our data demonstrate that in children, there is a complex relationship between the level of vitamin D in the blood and how much calcium is absorbed," lead investigator Dr. Steven A. Abrams told Reuters Health.

Abrams and colleagues at the US Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service Children's Nutrition Research Center in Houston studied vitamin D levels and calcium absorption in 251 healthy children. They used 439 vitamin D measurements taken over a period of 15 years.

Overall, vitamin D was significantly associated with the total amount of calcium absorbed. However, although this continued to be true in the measurements obtained in early puberty, the relationship was not significant in pre- or late puberty.

Moreover, the overall effect of vitamin D levels on calcium absorption was small.

"We found no consistent pattern of relationship between (vitamin D) and either fractional or total calcium absorption across the age range of approximately 5- to 16-yr-old children," the investigators report in the Journal of Clinical and Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Thus, Abrams added, "there is no simple answer to how much vitamin D will lead to the most amount of absorbed calcium in children."
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