Parenting a child with special needs, fed via g-tube for medical reasons is especially challenging in February in North America! Enough snow, enough gloom, where is Spring??
With the lack of sunshine, we are all in need of Vitamin D! What makes me think so? There are lots of studies that prove it. Here is an interesting blog for more information: Grassroots Health GrassrootsHealth is a public health promotion organization. They are all about correctly informing the public about the need for Vitamin D. Look at all the scientists on their panels! One of the statistics shown on this blog, is that 10,000 IU /day or less has no toxicity. This is not what you will hear from your run-of-the-mill doctor, but keep in mind that years ago a study was released showing that doctors are, on average, 2 years behind in their reading in their own specialty, not to mention other information. Oh I digress.
Here is a fascinating chart from GrassrootsHealth to help you see how much Vitamin D needs to be present in the blood in order to achieve the requisite health benefits:
So you can see that while it requires a negligible amount to prevent rickets (the first discovery of Vitamin D’s benefits) in order to impact other disease development higher blood serum levels are required.
It is generally accepted knowledge that our skin can convert sunshine into Vitamin D. How great is that?! There are factors that make this more and less true including latitude, individual sun sensitivity, skin pigmentation, general health, and age. Vitamin D’s benefits continue to be discovered and the one we’ve all heard about lately is strengthening our immune systems – helping us to fight off germs. Kids encounter TONS of germs at school and bring them home, so in our house we get plenty of germs walking in the door!
Vitamin D is fat-soluble. According to what I read, Vitamin D should be taken with high-fat foods to help it achieve its goals. So I take mine with a salad that I use olive oil on. My husband takes it with bacon and eggs. I give it to my g-tube fed daughter in her food, because I add olive oil or flax oil to her blended meals.
I have both the powder and the soft-gel capsules. For giving to a person via g-tube, these photos show the necessary supplies. (I use an alcohol wipe on the push pin after I use it each time so it is clean. I keep those alcohol wipes around – they are good for disinfecting cell phones, etc.)
Whichever type of Vitamin D you choose and the dosage you select, if it is a softgel the push pin will puncture it and allow you to squeeze the contents into a syringe. If it is a powder, then twist and pull the capsule apart (in an upright position so the capsule contents don’t dump out all over you) and pour it into the syringe.
I place the syringe on a pyrex liquid measure because it puts the syringe at a good angle: the vitamins do not pour back out the opening and they don’t scoot down to the bottom so fast that they pour out the other end! After getting the vitamins into the syringe I push the plunger up, with the syringe pointing toward the ceiling, slowly, until there is very little air in the syringe. Then pull blended food into the syringe and I give it as part of a regular meal.