Targeting vitamin D deficiency in breastfeeding women is especially important, as research has shown that children’s vitamin D levels are only a fraction of their mother’s levels. A recent study published by the journal PLOS One evaluated the prevalence and risk of deficiency in postpartum, lactating Chinese women.
Researchers conducted analyses of the vitamin D levels of 2,004 lactating women between 1-10 months postpartum from 8 different Chinese provinces and municipalities.
Here are some common trends found after analysis:
The researchers evaluated some of the risks associated with vitamin D deficiency in these women:
The researchers concluded,
“In summary, vitamin D deficiency in lactating women was highly prevalent in winter and spring regardless of them living in south or the north in China. Vitamin D status in lactating women was mainly associated with season, ethnicity and income.”
“It is urgent to study the strategy and implement interventions on vitamin D supplementation for improving vitamin D status of lactating women.”
This study reveals that lactating mothers in China are severely vitamin D deficient. As a result, these individuals are unable to supply their infants with with adequate vitamin D through their breast milk. It is important for mothers to supplement themselves or supplement their babies with vitamin D3 in the case of low vitamin D levels. For infants, and children under 25 lbs, the Vitamin D Council recommends supplementing with 1,000 IU of vitamin D3. For mothers who would like to supply their babies vitamin D from their breast milk, research has shown that women need 6,400 IU in order to maintain a healthy vitamin D level for the baby.