All infants receive a vitamin D prescription at the maternity ward from birth. If this drug is essential for the growth of their bones, care must be taken to give the right dose. Several cases of overdose have been reported with serious consequences.
Vitamin D supplementation of young children is necessary for bone growth. It helps prevent a disease of growth and ossification, rickets. Indeed, vitamin D promotes the digestive absorption of calcium and regulates bone building activity. Vitamin D also has other benefits on immunity, inflammation, blood pressure. In France, it is prescribed from the first days of life. As with any medication, the right dose of vitamin D must be given to your child. While not giving enough can have health consequences, giving too much can also be very dangerous.
An excess of vitamin D causes hypercalcemia, that is to say too high a level of calcium in the blood. In 2022, ANSES (National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety) recorded three cases of vitamin D overdose in infants, resulting in severe hypercalcemia. In all three cases, the newborns had not received medication but food supplements containing vitamin D. This is why ANSES published a communiqué on March 22, 2023 to remind the recommendations about vitamin D.
What are the recommendations for vitamin D supplementation for infants?
Vitamin D must be prescribed in the form of medication by a healthcare professional. Do not give vitamin D to your child in the form of a food supplement. Food supplements are not subject to as strict a regulation as that of drugs. The concentrations of vitamin D contained in dietary supplements are not as reliable as those contained in drugs.
Parents should respect the dosage noted on the prescription and not give their child other products containing vitamin D or fortified with vitamin D to avoid any risk of overdose. In infants (0 to 18 months), the recommendations are 400 to 800 units of vitamin D per day. There are currently three drugs in France allowing the administration of vitamin D in the form of drops: Adrigyl, Deltius and ZymaD. Each drop contains between 200 and 300 units of vitamin D.
And in children and adolescents?
New recommendations for vitamin D supplementation for children 0-18 years old were released in 2022. They state that all children 0-18 years old should receive 400-800 units of vitamin D daily. If daily administration is not possible or difficult to implement, they recommend a 50,000 unit ampoule 4 times a year or an 80 to 100,000 unit ampoule twice a year.