According to the BBC, two senior paediatric pathologists have discovered vitamin D deficiency in a significant number of children who have died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Dr Irene Scheimberg and Dr Marta Cohen say that vitamin D deficiency and associated diseases such as the bone disease rickets could explain deaths of children previously thought to be suspicious.
In London, Dr Irene Scheimberg discovered vitamin D deficiency in 30 cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Vitamin D deficiency was found to be the cause of death in 3 cases.
The deficiency was also a co-existing find in the sudden or unexpected deaths of 8 children, in 5 children with bronchial asthma and 5 children with combined bacteria-polyviral or polyviral infections.
Two of the babies with vitamin D deficiency were also found to have rib fractures, including four-month-old Jayden Wray, whose parents had been accused of shaking him to death and later acquitted.
In Yorkshire, Dr Cohen found moderate to severe levels of vitamin D deficiency in 45 children, mostly infants aged less than 12 months, who died of natural causes.
Of the 24 sudden infant deaths Dr Chen investigated from this group, 75 per cent were deficient in vitamin D.
Dr Scheimberg said severe vitamin D deficiency could make the bones of small babies very brittle, and despite government recommendations on vitamin D supplementation, the deficiency is still not being taken seriously by authorities.
Earlier this week, the chief medical officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, wrote to doctors, nurses and other health professionals advising them to consider vitamin D supplementation for certain at risk groups, including pregnant mothers.
Recent studies showed that a quarter of children under 5 in the UK are deficient in vitamin D.
Although the vitamin is present in some foods like oily fish and egg yolk, 90 per cent is manufactured by the skin with the help of strong sunlight. Many people do not get enough sunlight to make enough vitamin D.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012