Contact: Carole Baggerly
GrassrootsHealth Calls for Action: All Breastfeeding Women Should Supplement with 6400 IU Vitamin D daily
Children may be at risk for developmental delays, compromised immune system, and future disease
Encinitas, CA (August 31, 2016) In support of National Breastfeeding Month, GrassrootsHealth announces that daily supplementation of 6400 IU vitamin D is safe for lactating mother and baby and allows enough vitamin D to pass through breast milk to provide the adequate nutritional vitamin D status in the baby to optimize growth, development and immune function.
Babies are growing up vitamin D deficient. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding infants take 400 IU vitamin D / day. Population based studies have reported a 2-19% compliance with this mandate (the infants are not regularly given a supplement) – which means over 80% of our breastfeeding babies are not getting the necessary amount of vitamin D for peak growth and development.
In infants, vitamin D deficiency can result in hypocalcemic seizures, growth failure, lethargy, irritability, and a predisposition to respiratory infections. Between 3 and 18 months of age the vitamin D deficient baby may develop signs of rickets, the skeletal disorder resulting in brittle bones, prevalent in the early 1900s which led to fortifying milk with vitamin D. Rickets is on the rise. There are no national rates for rickets in the US because it is not a reportable public health disease, but in the UK the Daily Mail cites 833 hospital admissions for rickets in 2012, a four-fold increase from 10 years earlier. In the US cases of severe rickets are showing up as multiple fractures, causing child protective services to take the child from its family for fear of abuse. In addition, vitamin D deficiency in infancy can lead to increased risk of disease in adulthood including MS, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
If a baby were to receive 1 quart of formula per day, they would receive 400 IU vitamin D. But the World Health Organization (WHO) and most governmental agencies support breastfeeding as the number one nutritional choice. These same government agencies recommend that the mother take a measly 400 IU vitamin D per day for their own nutrition. This is not enough to get 400 IU into breast milk. The mother needs more so the baby can get what it needs.
That is where researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) stepped in. Starting in early 2000, they surmised that there was a safe amount of vitamin D which would give both mother and baby adequate nutritional vitamin D status. They compared 400 IU given to the mother and baby (the current DRI for lactating mothers and infants) to 6400 IU given to the mother only (400 IU in a multi-vitamin and 6000 IU added). The latter worked.
”Our research started with a small study in early 2000. We found 6400 IU vitamin D / day was not only safe, with no adverse reactions, but it allowed mother and baby adequate nutritional vitamin D status,” said Bruce W. Hollis, PhD, Lead Investigator at MUSC. “But that first study had 19 women, 15 of which were white. We wanted to replicate the study with more women, multiple sites and a diverse population. In 2010 we did just that. With two sites, we started with 258 women, about 25% African American, 25% Hispanic, and 50% White. We reported similar results. “
With 6400 IU vitamin D daily, mothers reached a mean vitamin D blood level of 60 ng/ml and their babies reached a mean of 44 ng/ml. In the control group, mothers taking only 400 IU vitamin D per day and supplementing their children with 400 IU vitamin D drops, resulted in mothers with a mean of 32 ng/ml (not nutritionally adequate) but babies with nutritionally adequate levels – a mean of 44 ng/ml.
“The time to act is NOW! Vitamin D is cheap, demonstrably safe, and effective,” said Carole Baggerly, Director and Founder of GrassrootsHealth. “Every breast feeding woman needs to supplement with 6400 IU vitamin D per day. Help us change the recommended daily allowance, sign our change.org petition here.”
GrassrootsHealth is a nonprofit public health organization dedicated to moving vitamin D research into practice. Together with 48 world-wide senior vitamin D researchers it has issued a call to action – to raise vitamin D levels to 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L). GrassrootsHealth is currently running the D*action population intervention program to solve the vitamin D deficiency epidemic worldwide. Under the D*action umbrella, there are programs looking at the entire population as well as targeted programs for breast cancer prevention and a ‘Protect Our Children NOW!’ program to reduce the complications of vitamin D deficiency encountered during pregnancy and childhood.