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We all know vitamin D is important. Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Annual Breastfeeding Conference in Toronto to find out how important it is to the pregnant woman and lactating mother based on some exciting new research!

Vitamin D increases the flow of calcium into the bloodstream by promoting absorption of calcium from food in the intestines and the re-absorption of calcium from the kidneys. This allows for normal bone growth and remodeling.

In a large study in the US throughout 2004‐2008 81% of women were Vitamin D deficient. (PAS 2008, abstract/poster #5140.11)   Vitamin D deficiency can result in rickets (a painful disease when the bones and growth plates are softened) Canadian Pediatric Society states that vitamin D deficiency rickets has not been eradicated in Canada.  In a follow up to that study women were enrolled and given Vitamin D in various amounts (up to 4000IU daily). The study concluded in July 2009 and is so promising. The results are still being analyzed and new
guidelines will likely be affected soon to reflect the following:
– Likely need at least 2,000 IU/day
– Up to 4,ooo IU/day is safe
– Great concern that vitamin D status plays role in
– Preventing preterm labor/birth
– Preventing preeclampsia
– Fetal dentition
– Possible role for vitamin D status during pregnancy
– Infant long‐term immune health
– Autoimmune diseases
– Infection
– Allergy

Health Canada recommends that all exclusively breastfed infants receive a daily vitamin D supplement of 400IU beginning at birth until one year of age or the infant’s diet includes at least 400IU of vitamin D from dietary sources. (Health Canada:2004)

Thanks to Sarah N. Taylor, M.D.    Medical University of South Carolina 
Charleston, South Carolina 
Research: Funded in part by the following:  
Thrasher Research Fund    NIH R01 HD047511 & 5R01HD043921 
NIH K23RR021891     Clinical & Translational Research Center