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By August 29, 2023No Comments

Phytochemicals and vitamin D support children’s health

  • Plant-based phytochemicals reduce obesity

Childhood obesity is increasing in developed countries worldwide. In this study, doctors measured the diets of 1,196 boys and girls, average age four. On average, participants consumed 1,370 calories per day, with boys consuming significantly more than girls.

Doctors estimated the phytochemical content of the diets by measuring daily fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. While there was no significant link between dietary phytochemicals and obesity in girls, boys who got the most phytochemicals were 72 percent less likely to be obese compared to boys who got the least phytochemicals.

Reviewing the results, doctors said they do not know why the link between phytochemicals and obesity existed only in boys, but suggest the balance of the gut microbiome may offer clues.


  • Vitamin D early in life supports cognitive health later

Vitamin D plays a role in early brain development, and doctors wanted to test if supplementing at higher-than-standard doses early in life could improve cognition later on. In this study, 346 infants received either 400 IU or 1,200 IU of vitamin D3 in daily oral supplements from the age of two weeks to 24 months.

Doctors followed up, with the latest monitoring point at six to eight years of age. Parents assessed their child’s psychiatric symptoms via a questionnaire. Overall, the higher dose of vitamin D reduced chances of the child internalizing problems at school age, with parents reporting less depressed mood, anxiety, and withdrawn behavior compared to parents’ assessment of children receiving the lower dose of vitamin D.

Reference: JAMA Network Open, Pediatrics; 2023, Vol. 6, No. 5, e2314319

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