Maternal Vitamin D insufficiency during lactation, is related to lack of sun exposure and minimal intake of vitamin D from the diet, contributes to low breast milk vitamin D content and, therefore, infant vitamin D deficiency.
There is support to conclude that when maternal vitamin D intake is sufficient, vitamin D transfer via breast milk is adequate to meet infant needs. (Journal of Human Lactation March 2013)
Why do we need Vitamin D?
The human body requires vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Not enough vitamin D results in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia). You also need vitamin D for other important body functions.
Vitamin D deficiency has now been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, weight gain, and other maladies. People with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of disease, although they do not definitively prove that lack of vitamin D causes disease -- or that vitamin D supplements would lower risk.
Breastmilk and Vitamin D
Most of our Vitamin D comes from sunlight on our skin – it forms under the skin in reaction to light. While the best source is summer sunlight.
Mothers who don't receive much exposure to natural sunlight, due to their religious beliefs, or lack of natural sunlight in their working environments, need to source Vitamin D from food sources.
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin D from foods is 400 units.
These foods include:
Units per serve