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Dylan & Feromsa
At a recent check up with my doctor discovered that I have very low levels of vitamin D in my body. That made me think about the subject of vitamin D levels in children and specially in children of dark skin.
People with dark skin can’t absorb well vitamin D, since the same melanin that protects the skin against burning, also prevents it from absorbing this crucial vitamin.
Also if you live north of 40 degrees latitude north or south of 40 degrees latitude south there is no way you can get enough vitamin D from sun exposure alone; for example black people living in Canada are the ones that are more at risk of developing heath issues related to the lack of vitamin D.
Since my dark skin children now live here, I can assume they are not getting enough, that’s why I give them a daily vitamin supplement that at least contains 400 IU of vitamin D.
I know that we are supposed to use sunscreen to protect ourselves from skin cancer, but you need to expose your skin at least 15 minutes a day to the sun rays without any protection, preferably during the early or late hours of the day when the sun can do less damage. Here where we live, we don’t have much sun during great part of the year, so a supplement is very important.
Maybe you are wondering if you can get the recommended amount of vitamin D from food alone. Apparently there aren’t many foods with this vitamin and you’ll have to eat a lot of those foods to get what you need. Foods high in vitamin D are for example, cod liver oil, raw fish, or dried mushrooms. You can get it from vitamin D fortified milk or orange juice too, but you’d need to drink A LOT to get the daily quota, like at least 10 glasses a day.
The better way is  taking a pill a day and is pretty safe and rarely you can overdose. 
Regarding the relation between dark skin and vitamin D, the darker the skin the more likely the child has a deficiency, and most of the children adopted from Ethiopia come with some degree of deficiency due to malnutrition.
If a child doesn’t have enough vitamin D it will develop some problem in the bones, since the vitamin D is essential for the hormones that make the calcium go to the bones. One of the most common problems in children that are deficient in this vitamin is rickets, in which the bones soften and they children get fractures and deformities; in adults this same condition is called osteomalacia.
Besides this condition, the children can develop, once they become adults, colon, prostate or breast cancer and diabetes.
It’s a good idea to get your children (and yourself) tested for vitamin D deficiency and ask your pediatrician how much a dose is recommended to keep them healthy.