Dr. Bruce Hollis, Professor of Pediatrics and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Director of Pediatric Nutritional Science at the Medical University of South Carolina, and Dr. Carol Wagner just presented the results of their major study on high doses of Vitamin D during pregnancy and breastfeeding at the 14th International Workshop on Vitamin D in Belgium.
They found that high doses of Vitamin D, as high as 4000 IUs, significantly improved health and outcomes for pregnant mothers and their babies.
Nursing mothers should take even more: 6400 IUs.
Dr. Hollis could not state this strongly enough. “I think it is medical malpractice for obstetricians not to know what the Vitamin D level of their patients is.”
Pregnancy and breastfeeding are an incredibly important time in both a mother and child’s life, when she is giving the infant all the building blocks he or she needs to build the foundation for future bone health, cardiovascular health, immune function, glucose metabolism and brain development and the prevention of brain disorders.
600 pregnant women participated in the study, of diverse ethnicities and skin tones. The control group was given the American Academy of Pediatrics-recommended 400 IU per day; the second group received 2000 IU; and the third, 4000 IU. Discoveries included:
For the highest levels, premature births and premature labor were reduced by 50%.
Fewer babies were born smaller than expected.
Complications of pregnancy such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and pre-eclampsia were reduced by 30%.
Babies born to mothers receiving the highest Vitamin D supplementation had fewer colds and skin problems such as eczema.
Dr. Hollis and Dr. Wagner are now conducting a study on the effects of Vitamin D supplementation on breastfed infants. According to their pilot trials, in order for nursing newborns to continue getting the benefits of Vitamin D, the mothers must increase their supplementation to at least 6400 IUs. In my practice I give the nursing mothers Vitamin D and also have the children take 400 IU per day. Obviously, this is especially important for children who are not being breast-fed.