Apr 26, 2021
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How to choose vitamin D3 for children. Honest review

The approach to vitamin intake has also changed. You can now get it in a pharmacy in a variety of forms: from pills to drops. And it will be useful for every parent to know what is the difference between one bottle of “solar vitamin” from another, because the choice of this supplement should be deliberate.

What vitamin D is dissolved in: the benefits of an oil base

To understand all the variety of types of vitamin D on the market today is not as difficult as it might seem at first glance. For small children, a liquid form is best. It is represented by drops that are tasteless and easy to take by mixing in water or food. Such preparations usually contain only one active ingredient and are easier to use to replenish vitamin D3 deficiency.

The first thing to look for when choosing drops is the base or what the vitamin is dissolved in. It can be either oil or water. Both forms have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Vitamin D3 oil-based

Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin, and therefore oil-based products are deservedly considered the safest in terms of composition. Such drops usually contain only vitamin D3 itself (cholecalciferol) and natural vegetable oil, which also serves as a vehicle for delivering vitamin D3 to tissues. Manufacturers try to select the oil with the lowest allergenicity. You can find drops based on coconut (for example, “COLIF vitamin D3”, “Detrilan”), linseed, olive (for example, “Minisan”) and other oils.

It is important to remember that the oily form of vitamin D3 may not be suitable for premature babies, or babies with various disorders in the digestive tract. Since the lack of enzymes in the body that break down vegetable fats can make the process of assimilating oil-based foods difficult and time-consuming. However, when the first complementary foods are introduced, such problems are very rare, and therefore vitamin D3 in oil remains the product of choice for children from 1 month old and adults. Its absorption is as close as possible to the process of obtaining a vitamin from food and occurs in the most gentle, albeit slower, mode.

Vitamin D3 water-based

Since vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) itself does not mix with water, the water-based drops include vitamin D3 enclosed in tiny water-soluble micellar spheres. In other words, it is not an aqueous solution, but a stable oil-in-water emulsion. It is obtained by introducing special surfactants into the drops, therefore such products, in addition to the main ingredient, may contain many auxiliary components: polysorbate, citric acid, polyethylene glycol and others. So, for example, the water-soluble vitamin D3 “Complivit® Aqua D3” and “Aquadetrim” contain macrogol glyceryl ricinoleate, anethole (an aromatic ether that gives the drug anise flavor), sucrose and some other components. In order for water droplets to be stored longer, preservatives are additionally needed, for example, benzyl alcohol, which is present in their composition.

It is obvious that the complex composition increases the risks of unwanted allergic reactions. For example, on the part of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, hypersensitivity reactions such as pruritus, skin rashes and hives can be observed.

But if the intake of oil is contraindicated for a newborn due to disturbances in the formation of the gastrointestinal tract, and an acute deficiency of vitamin D3 requires its rapid replenishment, in this case, the doctor will most likely resort to an aqueous solution. Such drops are absorbed faster in babies, since they do not require splitting, but are immediately absorbed into the bloodstream from the intestines. The effect of taking water-soluble vitamin D3 comes quickly, and they are convenient if you need to restore the vitamin level in the body urgently.

Where does vitamin D3 come from in the pharmacy, and are all vitamins the same?

When choosing vitamin D3 from one manufacturer or another, you should pay attention to how it was obtained. Today vitamin D3 is received mainly by:

  • from sheep wool lanolin,

  • from fish oil,

  • from yeast, microscopic algae and fungi (vegan forms).

Vitamin D3 from fish oil and lanolin (wool fat, which can be found in lip balms and body creams) is obtained by exposing its precursor, which is isolated from raw materials, 7-dehydrocholesterol, to ultraviolet radiation. This method completely repeats the synthesis of the vitamin in nature and allows you to obtain a safe natural product with high efficiency.

Some people do not like vitamin D3 based on lanolin or fish oil due to their beliefs. The way out for them can be vegan vitamin D3, obtained by extracting from algae, which are widely used in human nutrition. Not so long ago, they learned to obtain vitamin D3 using consortia of lichens and cyanobacteria.

The second important factor is a trustworthy manufacturer. Here it is worth paying attention to the country where the product is produced. Biologically active food additives in different countries undergo different quality control. So, the conditions for their registration in the EU are much stricter than in the USA, China or India.

It is better to choose products manufactured in compliance with international regulations for the production of food (HACCP) and pharmaceuticals (GMP). Today, these rules are recommended for implementation by all WHO member states, but this is far from the case everywhere. In Russia, the transition to this production control system took place only recently, while in the USA and EU countries, compliance with HACCP and GMP rules has been closely monitored for many years.

Finally, often the consumer does not know what is better to choose – a medicine (MP) or a biologically active food supplement (BAA). Many people tend to opt for drugs, because they undergo clinical trials before they end up on the shelves of pharmacies. However, the main goal of such studies is to prove efficacy and safety. Dietary supplements with vitamin D3 cannot be considered less effective and safe than drugs (drugs), and the cholecalciferol in their composition is identical to that contained in the drug, which means it is no less effective. The only difference between drugs and dietary supplements is the dosage of vitamin D3 in the product: in drugs, these are most often therapeutic (medicinal) doses, and in dietary supplements, prophylactic doses. Thus, between the two products – dietary supplements and drugs, preference should be given to the one that has a more suitable composition for your case.

Dosage: how much vitamin DZ to take

Vitamin D3, like other vitamins, should be taken after consulting your doctor. In turn, the doctor, before prescribing vitamin D3, must necessarily look at the level of vitamin D3 in the blood and only then make an appointment.

Not everyone knows that when taking cholecalciferol in large dosages, it tends to accumulate in the body and, when the maximum level in the body is reached, exhibits a toxic effect. An overdose of vitamin D3 should never be tolerated, it can cause many undesirable effects, including:

  • nausea and vomiting

  • decrease in pressure,

  • heart palpitations,

  • weakness, nervousness,

  • itching

  • impaired renal function.

Most of the symptoms are caused by hypercalcemia – an increase in the level of calcium in the blood.

Therefore, large doses (therapeutic / medicinal) of vitamin D3 (from 1000 to 10000 IU per day) are usually prescribed only after diagnosing its total deficiency of this vitamin. Prophylactic doses are much less: from 100 to 400 IU for children, from 100 to 600 IU for adults.

When choosing vitamin D3 for children, it is better to give preference to products where the content of vitamin D3 in one drop does not exceed 200 IU. In this case, you can not be afraid of an overdose, even if the child received an extra drop or other complex vitamins or fortified food are present in his diet.

We approach taking vitamin D3 responsibly

Finally, having chosen a product with vitamin D3, you must make sure that this product has been registered in the territory of the Eurasian Economic Union (EurAsEC) (be it a drug or dietary supplement), carefully read the instructions for use and familiarize yourself with all possible risks of unwanted side effects from reception. Manufacturers and sellers have great responsibility for product registration and clear labeling on packaging for the consumer.

As a good example, you can refer to the instructions for dietary supplements “COLIF vitamin D3”. Vitamin D3 in this product is obtained from sheep wool lanolin, it contains only the components coconut oil and cholecalciferol, and one drop contains 200 IU of vitamin D3. The manufacturer (Ireland) indicates the recommended dosage of the product for children of different age groups and for adults, warns that a specialist consultation is necessary before taking it, and indicates how to properly store the product. This product is registered on the territory of the EurAsEC and is allowed to be consumed not only by children from 1.5 years old, but also by adults, incl. pregnant and lactating women, produced in accordance with HACCP and GMP requirements, which means it is safe for health.

So, we have sorted out all the main questions that arise for young mothers, as well as expectant mothers who face the choice of vitamin D3 for themselves and their babies. Despite the fact that vitamin D3 must be used carefully, after being prescribed by a doctor or pediatrician, vitamin D is recommended for the prevention of almost all children of early and preschool age, since it is an important component that affects not only the formation of the skeletal system, but also many others. processes in a growing organism.


  1. CDC. Vitamin D
  2. Vitamin D in breastfed infants: a systematic review of alternatives to daily supplements. Doi: 10.1093 / advances / nmz098
  3. A review of the treatment of vitamin D deficiency in pediatric patients. DOI: 10.5863 / 1551-6776-18.4.277

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