August 3, 2017

Director's Letter  

If you didn't see his newsletter, Dr. Mercola did a beautiful job spreading the word about the results of our first two-year Protect our Children NOW! project-- which showed a 40-60% reduction in preterm births. In addition, he is helping GrassrootsHealth continue to move research into practice with a matching donation offer, up to $25,000! Please consider donating today, as every dollar you donate will be doubled - moving research into practice!  Thanks to all of you for your ongoing support.

This week is world breastfeeding week. 

Breastfeeding is one of the most perfect forms of food for a baby though it has long been "understood" to be an inadequate source of vitamin D.

How can that be?

If you know that most women of childbearing age are vitamin D deficient, it starts to make sense that they wouldn't have the vitamin D available to pass on in their breast milk.

Is it really that simple - if you give women enough vitamin D will they pass it on to the baby?

Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) tackled this question with the hypothesis that if a breastfeeding mom receives much more than the standard 400 IU/day of vitamin D, she will be able to pass on an adequate amount of vitamin D to her infant. After a double-blind randomized controlled trial they found that a daily vitamin D supplement of 6,400 IU did indeed allow the mothers to pass enough vitamin D through breast milk so that their babies did not need a vitamin D supplement! The average 25(OH)D level of the women who received 6,400 IU/day was about 60 ng/ml (150 nmol/L). The infants breastfed from these mothers had the equivalent of the 400 IU/day that is currently recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Sure, you can give babies a supplement, but only 2-19% of the infants are given a supplement.  This suggests that over 80% of babies are not getting the recommended amount of vitamin D.

You can expose babies to sunshine, but your pediatrician has probably told you to keep your baby out of direct sunlight for at least the first 6 months and to make sure they are covered with clothing or sunscreen when they do go outside. (We don't recommend this.)

This is a problem! Not enough D in breast milk, no supplementation, and no sun puts far too many babies at risk of vitamin D deficiency, and at increased risk of many future diseases  such as allergies, asthma, autism, cancer, cardiovascular disease and more.

We are now working with MUSC on a new standard of care for the pregnant women--getting the serum levels to at least 40-60 ng/ml. We need to take the next step:  make sure that the breastfed baby ALSO has enough vitamin D. The easiest way to do that is for the mom to keep her serum levels between 40-60 ng/ml while she breastfeeds the infant.
Carole Baggerly 
Director, GrassrootsHealth 
Moving Research into Practice NOW!
How Much Vitamin D Does a Lactating Mother Need to Pass It Onto Her Breastfeeding Infant?

It is generally accepted that breastfed infants are not getting an adequate amount of vitamin D. So, they are told to supplement - but NHANES data finds only between 2-19% of infants are receiving supplementation. So what should we do? Researchers found that if the mother takes 6,400 IU vitamin D daily, then she has enough vitamin D for herself and her breastfed baby.  
  A Low Omega-3 Index Value Is a Risk Factor for Postpartum Depression

A study measured Omega-3 Index Levels (the same measurement provided in D*action+Omega-3) and found a direct correlation between index levels and postpartum depression. The study was done in Norway, using women from a single community. This was not a trial - no supplements were given. Instead, Omega-3 Index levels were measured at 28 weeks gestation and then the women were assessed using the EPDS scale three months after delivery.
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Help us move to a culture of health & prevention. 


The GrassrootsHealth Wellness Center
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Maternal Versus Infant Vitamin D Supplementation During Lactation: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Bruce W. Hollis  et al.
October 2015

Vitamin D deficiency in breastfed infants in Iowa 
Ziegler EE et al. 
August 2006 

Low Omega-3 Index in Pregnancy Is a Possible Biological Risk Factor for Postpartum Depression 
Maria Wik Markhus et al. 
July 2013 

Petition on to ask breastfeeding organizations to recommend 6,400 IU vitamin D daily to nursing mothers. 

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