Girl suffered Vitamin D deficiency due to use of High Factor Sunscreen
Living by the beach in one of the sunniest parts of the country, Lisa Attrill made sure her daughter wore plenty of high-factor sun cream when she played outside. But her good intentions left 12-year-old Tyler suffering from a vitamin deficiency linked to the bone disease rickets. The factor-50 sunscreen deprived her of essential vitamin D, which is produced by the body as a reaction to sunlight on the skin.
She was eventually diagnosed in November , after tests to establish why she had failed to recover properly from an unrelated operation on her hip. Her vitamin deficiency, which could have developed into the more serious rickets, has been treated by taking a multi-vitamin.
Details of Tyler’s case emerged a month after health experts urged people to spend up to 15 minutes in the midday sun without sunscreen three times a week to help boost levels of vitamin D.
Rickets is a rare disease caused by lack of vitamin D which results in the bones becoming soft and weak. In extreme cases it leads to fractures and deformities such as bowed legs and curvature of the spine
The disease was common 100 years ago when diets were poor and many cities were surrounded by thick smog which limited sunlight. It had virtually disappeared by the 1940s, largely through improved diet as vitamin D was then added to many foods such as breakfast cereal and margarine. In 1946 the Government ordered all schools to give children free milk. This upped their calcium intake, also reducing the rickets risk.
The body gets 80 per cent of its vitamin D from a chemical process that happens when sunlight is absorbed by the skin. It is also found naturally in oily fish,egg yolk and liver.
Around one in 1,000 children are diagnosed with rickets, although figures suggest that as many as 70 per cent have a vitamin D deficiency.
In November, Professor Nicholas Clarke, an orthopaedic surgeon at Southampton General hospital who also treated Tyler, warned of an astonishing resurgence of rickets. He studied 200 children suffering from bone conditions and found 40 of them had rickets.
Mrs Attrill said Professor Clarke told her the liberal application of sunscreen was likely to have caused Tyler’s vitamin D deficiency. Last night Professor Clarke’s colleague orthopaedic surgeon Vel Sukthivel said: ‘We have seen a staggering number of cases of vitamin D deficiency over the last few years.’
Source: The Daily Mail, January 19, 2011.
Vitamin D (ergocalciferol, cholecalciferol)
What is does: Helps maintain strong and healthy bones by retaining calcium.
Deficiency signs: Joint pain or stiffness, backache, tooth decay, muscle cramps, hair loss.
How Much should I take?
EU recommended daily amount (RDA): 5 mcg
Average Optimum Daily Amount for an adult (ODA): 11 mcg
Supplementary range: 3-5mcg
Toxicity: 1,250 mcg is potentially toxic.
Best food sources: Herrings (22.5 mcg), mackeral (17.5 mcg), salmon (12.5 mcg), oysters (3 mcg), cottage cheese (2mcg), eggs (1.75 mcg).
Helpers: Sufficient exposure to sunlight, as Vitamin D is made in the skin. Under these conditions dietary vitamin D may not be necessary. Vitamins A,C and E protect D.
Robbers: Lack of sunlight, fried foods.