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Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Vitamin D and Calcium

Topic Overview

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) increases your child's risk of osteoporosis in two ways. Pain and swelling can cause your child to be less active, which leads to loss of bone mass. And long-term corticosteroid treatment for JIA also depletes bone mass.

To minimize osteoporosis during treatment, experts recommend adequate daily intake of vitamin D and calcium.1

Foods high in calcium include dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt; calcium-fortified orange juice; and broccoli. Vitamin D is found in dairy products. Being out in sunlight for at least 15 minutes each day without sunscreen will also help with vitamin D intake. Your body makes vitamin D when it's exposed to sunlight.

Food-based sources of vitamins and minerals are better than dietary supplements, which are not as fully absorbed by the body. If your child has little appetite for food, though, your doctor may recommend dietary supplements.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Giannini EH, Brunner HI (2005). Treatment of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. In WJ Koopman, LW Moreland, eds., Arthritis and Allied Conditions, 15th ed., vol. 1, pp. 1301–1318. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Last Revised June 5, 2012

Last Revised: June 5, 2012

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