Doctor Explains How 1 Diet Issue Changed The Shape Of A Baby's Legs

The little one also appeared to be walking differently to other children their age.
SimonSkafar via Getty Images

A London-based doctor has shared a photo of a child’s bowed legs to raise awareness of a dietary deficiency that can occur in little ones.

Dr Sermed Mezher took to TikTok and cited a case report where a baby’s parents began to notice their legs were bending inwards ahead of their second birthday.

When they took the child to the GP, it became apparent that their little one also walked differently compared to other children their age and had a widening of their wrists.

The parents said they had exclusively breastfed their child up to nine months old and they hadn’t given any vitamin D supplementation during this period.

“Vitamin D is an essential part of a growing child’s bone strength,” Dr Mezher said, “and you can’t get it from breast milk.”

He said children also need it from food sources – such as salmon, eggs, orange juice and red meat – and sunlight. In the UK, it’s also advised young children are given vitamin D supplements.

“The child was given supplements [to treat the issue] but only had a mild improvement,” the doctor added.

In the caption for the video, he stated: “All exclusively breastfed babies and those receiving less than 500ml of formula milk should receive vitamin D supplements daily.”


Clarification: All exclusively breastfed babies and those receiving less than 500ml of formula milk should receive vitamin D supplements daily. This Child’s Diet Caused Their Bow Legs #nutrition Late weaning, the practice of delaying the introduction of solid foods into an infant's diet, can potentially lead to vitamin D deficiency in young children. Here's why and how this deficiency can occur: Late Weaning and Vitamin D Deficiency: Breast Milk as Sole Nutrition: Breast milk is an excellent source of nutrition for infants, providing essential nutrients, including vitamin D. However, the concentration of vitamin D in breast milk is relatively low. Limited Sunlight Exposure: Vitamin D is often referred to as the "sunshine vitamin" because the skin can produce it when exposed to sunlight. Infants, especially those who are exclusively breastfed, might have limited exposure to sunlight, particularly during the early months when they are kept indoors more frequently. Limited Dietary Sources: Unlike some other vitamins, vitamin D is not present in many foods naturally. While it can be found in some fortified foods, the primary source is sunlight exposure and dietary supplements. Consequences of Vitamin D Deficiency: Vitamin D is critical for several essential functions in the body, including: Calcium Absorption: Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium from the diet. Calcium is vital for the development of strong bones and teeth. Bone Health: A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to soft, brittle bones, and in severe cases, it can cause rickets in children, which is characterized by bone deformities. Immune Function: Vitamin D plays a role in the immune system's functioning, helping the body fight off infections. Preventing Vitamin D Deficiency: To prevent vitamin D deficiency when late weaning is practiced: Supplementation: Pediatricians may recommend vitamin D supplements for breastfed infants, particularly if they are not getting enough sunlight exposure. Sunlight Exposure: Ensure that infants have some exposure to natural sunlight, while taking precautions to protect their delicate skin from harmful UV rays. Balanced Diet: As the child's diet transitions to solid foods, incorporate vitamin D-rich foods like fortified cereals, fatty fish, and dairy products. Consult with a Pediatrician: Regular check-ups with a pediatrician can help monitor a child's growth and development and ensure that their nutritional needs, including vitamin D, are being met. Late weaning, when combined with limited sunlight exposure and an inadequate diet, can contribute to vitamin D deficiency in infants. To safeguard their health, it's essential to follow medical recommendations for vitamin D supplementation, dietary variety, and safe sun exposure. #LateWeaning #VitaminDDeficiency #InfantNutrition #Breastfeeding #VitaminD #ChildHealth #PediatricCare #SunshineVitamin #BoneHealth #Rickets #NutritionalSupplementation #WeaningProcess #InfantDevelopment #ParentingTips #NutritionalNeeds #Pediatrician #HealthyGrowth #VitaminDSupplements #SunlightExposure #VitaminDRichFoods #InfantHealth #NutritionEducation #BreastMilk #ParentingJourney #HealthyChildren #ChildhoodNutrition #fyp #fypシ #health #medicine

♬ Mistério - Beatsdasilva

Do all babies need vitamin D supplements?

Not exactly.

From birth, all breastfed babies should be given a daily supplement of vitamin D (8.5 to 10 micrograms), according to NHS Start For Life. This is because while breast milk is considered a great food source for babies, it provides virtually no vitamin D so babies can quickly become vitamin D deficient.

But if your little one has more than 500ml of first infant formula a day, they don’t need a vitamin D supplement because formula milk is already fortified with the vitamin.

Do toddlers need it, too?

It’s recommended that all children aged one to four should take a daily supplement (10 micrograms of the stuff) throughout the year as it can be hard to make all the vitamin D we need from sunlight and diet alone.

How much are supplements?

Supplements for children come in various forms – from liquid drops you can pop on your nipple while breastfeeding, to medicine-like mixtures that can be given to older babies on a spoon or in a syringe.

It depends on which ones you get, but prices can vary from between £5 to £15.

Women and children who qualify for the Healthy Start scheme can get free supplements containing vitamin D.

What happens if you don’t get enough vitamin D?

Babies and children who don’t get enough vitamin D can develop bone deformities such as rickets, which can cause the leg bones to bow, as seen in the video above.

Other signs of vitamin deficiency in children include bone pain, muscle weakness or cramps, feeling tired, and feeling down or sad. In severe cases, it can also cause delayed growth and seizures.

Babies with darker skin tones tend to have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. One study of 3,000 newborns from the University of Birmingham found half of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) babies are vitamin D deficient.

In adults, the issue can cause fatigue, muscle weakness, frequent illness, low mood and bone pain. It can also cause the bones to become weak.

According to the Glenfield GP Surgery, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to several health problems such as cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes and heart disease.

It’s thought one in five people in the UK have low vitamin D levels, so it’s a common yet preventable problem.

Before You Go

Go To Homepage