I recently came across a post written by a fellow mommy blogger about the issue of Vitamin D defenciency and nursing moms. I've been researching the Vitamin D topic since I began breastfeeding in 2003. Since I have moved out of the breastfeeding phase of my life (I loved, loved, loved breastfeeding my children and wouldn't trade the experience for anything but, can I just say that big boobs are highly over rated? I'm so glad to be able to run again). Anyway, since I've moved out of that phase in life, I don't think as much about it. But, I came across this post over at, Mommy Molecules and it has some great information in it.
Before I share that information. I want to be sure to say that Vitamin D deficiency is not only a problem for nursing moms but for 85% of Americans. I recently read an article that said that taking 2000 IUs of Vitamin D a day decreased the risk of certain cancers by up to 77%! It also improves energy and your immune system!
And Here is Muggs post:
Vitamin D and Nursing Moms
Today I got a call from my doctor about my blood test results for my annual physical. I am going to a new doctor who interestingly enough includes a Vitamin D test in the blood panel which I assumed I would ACE no problem living in Southern Arizona as I do and going outside for walks every couple of days. I was astounded when they told me I was Vitamin D deficient. The doctor told me to take 3000 units daily and get at least 10-15 minutes of daily sun on my arms and legs and then to get retested in 8 weeks.
Wow. How did that happen? I drink fortified milk, eat eggs, and get a good amount of sun, and take a prenatal vitamin. Hmmf. Well, I guessed it must be that I am still nursing our son who is now almost 15 months old but I thought I would do some research to share the recommendations for nursing moms.
I discovered that a study reviewed in 2007 found that nursing moms should be taking 10 TIMES the amount of Vitamin D Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for the average person. That amounts to 4,000 IU (International Units). The study researchers recommend a minimum of 2,000 IU but really push the higher dose saying up to 10,000IU is safe for up to 5 months just beware of toxicity of higher levels.
So, what are the health risks of low Vitamin D?
•Rickets (a bone deforming disease) if your baby is deficient
•Osteomalacia (bone thinning disorder in adults characterized by musculoskeletal pain, hmm, sounds familiar, that was a complaint of mine on this doctor visit)
•Diabetes in adults
•High blood pressure
Who is the most at risk:
•Extremely Obese individuals
•Exclusively breastfed babies
•Those who get little sun exposure (Did anyone hear new or working moms who only get sun going from the car to work and back to the car?)
•Those with darker skin as it is harder to absorb sunlight
So what can you do?
•Get sun on your bare skin (more effective in southern geography)
•Take a supplement
•Eat these foods: cod liver oil, fatty fish, eggs, beef liver (eww), mushrooms, some meats
•Talk to your pediatrician about a supplement for your child
Doing this research freaked me out pretty well but really made me realize how serious this can be and that you should never assume you don't have a deficiency of Vitamin D. (Another important nutrient for pregnant and nursing moms is Iron by the way. I stopped my prenatal vitamin for awhile after I had my son and starting having dizzy spells, etc.)
The links where I found the information above are here if you would like more information:
Thanks for sharing Muggs!