Sick kid? Check his D levels

Evidence from two new studies has our old friend vitamin D back in the spotlight. But this time instead of adult vitamin-D deficiency it's the kid variety that's taking center stage.

In one Harvard University study researchers found that 40 percent of the sick kids that they tested in pediatric intensive care were vitamin D deficient. And the kids who were deficient were more likely to stay in the hospital longer than other kids.

And Canadian researchers had similar results when they tested sick kids in a pediatric intensive care unit in Ottawa.

Both groups of researchers were quick to say that they hesitated to blame D deficiency for causing the kids to be sick. But what we, of course, do know is that vitamin D is absolutely crucial for your immune system to work properly. Without enough D the killer cells in your immune system, known as T-cells, can't react and fight off serious illnesses.

If you have a healthy child or grandchild in your life, after thanking your lucky stars make sure he's getting plenty of D-containing meals with eggs, oily fish, and D fortified foods and encourage him to spend some time out playing in the sunshine daily. You also might want to talk with his doctor about starting him on a vitamin D supplement.

And if you have a sick kid in your life talk with his doctor about the possibility of him taking large doses of D as early in the illness as possible.