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Study Recommends Starting Vitamin D Supplementation At Birth

Vitamin D has been associated with a wide range of health benefits but most Americans are vitamin D deficient. To combat that, a recent study suggests that vitamin D supplementation should start as early as when infants are breastfeeding.

Participants in the study included 213 breastfeeding mothers and infants who were given either 200, 400, 600 or 800 IU of vitamin D a day. All of the participants lived at 41 degrees north latitude and the study was performed in winter.

The researchers found that infant levels of vitamin D at 1 month were less than half the level of the mothers. Infant levels at birth were almost equal to the level of the mothers, meaning infant levels fell significantly between birth and one month of age.

The infants started receiving the supplements at the age of one month and continued through nine months. The researchers found that blood levels of vitamin D increased proportionately to the dosage, meaning higher dosages resulted in higher blood levels.

They concluded that 400 IU daily was an adequate amount for breastfeeding mothers to raise vitamin D levels in infants.

Researchers from the University of Iowa conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 18, 2014, in the journal Pediatric Research.

Previous studies have associated vitamin D with reducing the risk of skin damage, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, combating diabetes, and improving age related macular degeneration.

Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.

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