A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Rickets
I had a question the other day about rickets.
Rickets is a disorder caused by not enough vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate.
Rickets leads to softening and weakening of your bones and is seen most commonly in children 6-24 months of age.
There are several different types of rickets, with nutritional rickets being the most common.
Nutritional rickets, also called osteomalacia, is caused by vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin needed for the normal formation of bones and teeth.
It occurs naturally in very small amounts in some foods, like saltwater fish.
Vitamin D is also naturally made by skin cells in response to sunlight exposure.
It’s also needed for absorption of calcium from your gut.
Infants and children most at risk for developing nutritional rickets include dark-skinned infants, exclusively breastfed infants, and infants born to mothers who are vitamin D deficient.
Also, older children who are kept out of direct sunlight or who have vegan diets may also be at risk.
Signs and symptoms of rickets include bone pain or tenderness, dental deformities, delayed formation of teeth, decreased muscle strength, impaired growth, short stature, and many skeletal deformities, including an abnormally shaped skull, bowlegs, rib-cage abnormalities, and breastbone, pelvic, and spinal deformities.
Occasionally, in very severe rickets, people may develop more serious symptoms, like involuntary muscle contractions or seizures.
The treatment for rickets depends on the cause.
In the case of nutritional rickets, treatment is simple.
The first step is to use supplemental calcium or phosphate.
Then, starting vitamin D supplementation is recommended, as well as a diet rich in calcium.
This is especially important for children on vegan diets.
Outcomes for children with nutritional rickets are excellent, especially if diagnosed early.
Appropriate supplementation with calcium and vitamin D will lead to healing of the bony defects within days to months.
Severe bowing, seen in longer-standing cases of rickets, may also resolve over a number of years without requiring surgery.
To deal with rickets, it’s important to:
*Drink 6-8 glasses of purified water daily.
*Dandelion root, nettle, and oat straw promote bone building and are all good sources of calcium and magnesium.
*Change your diet. The best sources of calcium and vitamin D are milk and some other dairy products. All dairy products have calcium, but not all have vitamin D. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, yogurt and cottage cheese, and sardines. A diet high in calcium is essential.
*Sunlight exposure is important as well, if a guaranteed source of vitamin D isn’t available from foods.
*Don’t consume sugar, junk foods, or carbonated beverages.
*Have a hair analysis done to check for mineral deficiencies.
*Food allergy testing may be beneficial.
*Do weight-bearing exercises
*Eliminate smoking and/or secondhand smoke exposure.
*Eat fresh (not canned) pineapple and/or papaya because they contain enzymes that reduce inflammation.
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