Anyone who has has a child these last few years has probably had the pleasure of trying to dissolve vitamin D tablets in teaspoons of breast milk or warm water and then the even more difficult task of trying to get your baby to swallow it (and not spit it up again). But why is vitamin D important for babies?
The original thinking was healthy bone development. Your body needs vitamin D to be able to absorb calcium and phosphorus, and these are needed to build strong bones. Since it is recommended that children below 1 year of age should not be exposed to too much sunlight, vitamin D supplements are now routinely given.
But a study published in the journal Pediatric Obesity, has found that another bonus of being given vitamin D supplementation seems to be a leaner body composition.
132 babies were recruited for the study, and were given differing amounts of vitamin D for the first year of their lives before being given diets that maintained the recommended amount. At around 3 years of age their body composition was measured. They found that a higher status of vitamin D over these years was associated with leaner body mass. In other words, they seemed to have less fat.
So there you go, not just for bones, but also perhaps as a tool against weight gain. I wonder if it works for adults too?