Washington: A new study has suggested that low vitamin D levels in kids may cause anemia, a severe condition of which leads to damage of vital organs by depriving them of oxygen.
Anemia occurs when the body has too few oxygen-carrying red blood cells, and is diagnosed by measuring hemoglobin levels. Symptoms of mild anemia include fatigue, lightheadedness and low energy.
To examine the relationship between hemoglobin and vitamin D, researchers analyzed data from the blood samples of more than 9,400 children in the 2-18 years age group.
They found out that lower the vitamin D levels, lower was the hemoglobin and higher the risk for anemia.
Children with levels below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) of blood had a 50 pc higher risk for anemia than children with levels 20 ng/ml and above. For each 1 ng/ml increase in vitamin D, anemia risk is dropped by 3 pc.
The study reveals that only 1 pc of white children had anemia compared to 9 pc of black children. Incidentally, Black children had on an average, much lower vitamin D levels (18) than white children (27).
The new findings suggest that low vitamin D levels in black children may be an important contributor to anemia, apart from biologic and genetic factors.
"The striking difference between black and white children in vitamin D levels and hemoglobin gives us an interesting clue that definitely calls for a further study," said lead investigator Meredith Atkinson, pediatric nephrologist at the Johns Hopkins Children`s Center.
The findings were recently presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Denver, Colorado.