Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More vitamin D for pregnant women (and everyone else)

Living in Seattle, we've probably all heard about the risks associated with a vitamin D deficiency, but a couple lines from this New York Times article, "What do you lack? Probably Vitamin D," caught my eye:
The rising incidence of Type 1 diabetes may be due, in part, to the current practice of protecting the young from sun exposure. When newborn infants in Finland were given 2,000 international units a day, Type 1 diabetes fell by 88 percent, Dr. Holick said.
The current recommended intake of vitamin D, established by the Institute of Medicine, is 200 I.U. a day from birth to age 50 (including pregnant women); 400 for adults aged 50 to 70; and 600 for those older than 70. While a revision upward of these amounts is in the works, most experts expect it will err on the low side. Dr. Holick, among others, recommends a daily supplement of 1,000 to 2,000 units for all sun-deprived individuals, pregnant and lactating women, and adults older than 50. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breast-fed infants receive a daily supplement of 400 units until they are weaned and consuming a quart or more each day of fortified milk or formula. 
Count us as converts!  We've been taking supplements, but probably not quite enough and not quite as consistently as we should.  (You can take too much, however: "Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity include nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness and weight loss, as well as dangerous amounts of calcium that can result in kidney stones, confusion and abnormal heart rhythms.")  The experts recommend 1,000-2,000 units per day to avoid issues.

And one more thing I didn't know: "Given appropriate sun exposure in summer, it is possible to meet the body’s yearlong need for vitamin D."  Here's to spending a lot of this last adventure summer without kids outside!

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