Is the British Weather Really Robbing your Child of Vitamin D?

Primal Retreat Vitamin D

The NHS Trust and The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) have teamed up with Kellogg, Cow & Gate, DLux Vitamin D Drops & Sprays to create a new website, Vitamin D Mission UK,  designed to persuade parents to buy more factory produced foods and supplements.

The scary headline reads: “The British Weather is Robbing Your Child of Vitamin D”.

More appropriate headlines might have been any one of the following:

“Computer Games & TV are Robbing your Child of Vitamin D”

“Parents Who Don’t Let Their Children Play in the Sun are Robbing Their Children of Vitamin D”

“Excessive Sun Protection is Robbing Your Child of Vitamin D”

Their website lists a bunch of processed foods mainly provided by the sponsors which are fortified with vitamin D. Some natural foods are provided to show a comparison, such as fish, eggs, and offal. The information provided by the website assumes that your child would get zero sunshine on it’s skin, and therefore would need 100% of it’s Vitamin D to come from food & supplements. 

The website is useful to an extent by raising awareness, but makes it difficult to compare foods side by side, and make a fair comparison. Therefore, we have compiled a side by side glance to make it easier to compare. The list compares Vitamin D levels in various foods / supplements for a 3 – 5 year old.

Fortified Milk
Growing Up Milk 37% (per 100ml – recommends higher consumption)
Infant Formula 17% (per 100ml – recommends higher consumption)
Follow on Milk 21% (per 100ml recommended 600ml)
Evaporated Milk 9% (1 tablespoon)
Cow’s Milk – Cows’ milk is not included on this test as it is not a rich source of vitamin D.

Fortified Cereal
Fortified Family Cereal 16% (25g)
Fortified Infant Cereal 33% (25g)

Spreads and Yoghurts
Margarine 8% (1 serving = 7g)
Fromage Frais 7% (1 serving = 1 small pot 50g)
Childrens Yogurt 7% (1 serving = 40g pot)

Eggs & Offal
Chicken Egg 15% (1 egg = 58g)
Duck Egg 54% (1 medium sized egg 75g)
Calf Liver 2% (1 serving = 40 grams – 1 fried slice)
Lambs Liver 5% (1 serving = 40 grams – 1 fried slice)
Pig’s Liver 8% (1 serving = 50g stewed)
Liver Pate 7% (1 serving = 40g)

Supplements
Cod Liver Oil 30% (1 teaspoon)
Vitamin Drops 107% (1 dose)
Vitamin D Oral Spray 107% (1 spray)

Fish
Tuna 26% (50g serving)
Sardines 33% (50g serving)
Trout 69% (50g serving)
Salmon 51% (50g serving)
Mackeral 57% (50g serving)
Herring 115% (50g serving)

**  Source

As far as real food goes, herring & duck eggs come out on top for vitamin D at 115% and 54% respectively. This list is by no way comprehensive, and there are plenty of other healthy sources of vitamin D. However, it does show how easy it is to get the RDA from real food.

Combining real nutritious foods, encouraging children to play out doors whenever possible, getting safe levels of sun exposure, & plenty of fresh air seems a lot more sensible. Relentlessly feeding children fortified cereals, grains, and supplements to counter poor food choices, and hours spent indoors watching TV & playing computer games is ludicrous.

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