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breastfeeding women, breastfed babies, and other people at risk of vitamin D deficiency should take vitamin D supplements.

(13 Posts)
Upwind Tue 04-Aug-09 14:48:10


So is this true? Could that explain my extreme tiredness?

Or am I back to the hardly-any-sleep-for-six-months explanation...

Reallytired Tue 04-Aug-09 15:44:37

I think its the hardly any sleep explanation. It might be worth going to the GP and being checked for aneamia.

Unless you are black or you wear a burka I think the chances of being vit D deficient are low. In the past children got rickets when they worked down the mines or in dark satanic mills. Provided you have a reasonable diet or you go outside occassionally you should be OK.

Incidently breastfed babies do not need vitamen drops. A baby can be exclusively bf for at least 6 months. After that they can get whatever vitamens they need from solid food. Even if you were to exclusively breastfeed a baby after 6 months it probably meet 95% of a baby's requirements. Many toddlers are terrible eaters but survive.

norktasticninja Tue 04-Aug-09 16:01:12

Upwind - I agree that the most likely cause of the tiredness you're suffering from is anemia, definitely worth a trip to the GP.

I'm in the Netherlands and here vit D drops are advised for all babies and cildren under 4 as well as BF mums. The recommend dosage for babies has recently been doubled (from 5 to 10 micrograms per day). This is regardless of time spent outside and skin colour.

TBH I'm not up to speed on the pros and cons of the whole thing but the Dutch are often early adopters of medical practices that are later used more widely.

Feelingforty Tue 04-Aug-09 17:08:01

I'm sure I remember reading that Vitamin D supplements are not the way to go - better to obtain naturally from the sun.

If you're tired, I would say your iron is low. I am constantly worn out & have a iron level of 7 - the ideal amount is 11-16.

A good iron supplement is feroglobin because it has other vitamins (b's) & minerals.

You might find your gp checks your thryroid too.

Grendle Tue 04-Aug-09 19:24:31

One point to note is that population-wide public health recommendations for the benefit of the majority may not be the same as the best course of action for one individual. If you want the full story then the Govt expert committee report from 2007 is here. On a population basis it is more of a problem than people assume. The level of exposure required to sublight is actually quite specific. It has to be strong enough sunlight -which the further north you go even in Summer, the less is available. In Winter we all rely on stores built up in Summer. Whilst it is probably better to obtain vit D from sunlight, there's good evidence that lots of people don't actually achieve this, including women of childbearing age. To make the decision on whether to use the supplements yourself, you need to look at your own intake of vit D (from sunlight and dietry sources) and then make your own judgement.

Vitamin drops containing vitamins A, C and D are recommended for all children aged 6 months to 5 years. Again, this is a population-wide recommendation and probably reflects the fact that many young children eat nutritionally poor diets. This could be the case for a child who is simply a picky eater, but is also likely where children eat processed foods and little fresh fruit and vegetables. Again, vit D comes from sun exposure -and in this case the use of suncream is particularly relevant, alongside the other things mentioned above (details in the link above). The recommendation on vitamins is here. It does recognise that "Children who have a good appetite and eat a wide variety of foods, including fruit and veg, might not need vitamin drops.".

I have chosen not to take vit D supplements myself or to give my children vitamin drops. We get daily exposure to sun at the right times of day in the summer, we live in the south and the children do not always have suncream on. They also both it a varied diet including meat/fish most days, oily fish and plenty of fruit plus some veg each days. Were this not the case for whatever reason, then I would seriously consider following the population-wide recommendations.

Reallytired Tue 04-Aug-09 20:08:13

If vitamin drops are so important then why is that there aren't loads of kids with rickets? I remember asking my health visitor if she had ever met a child with rickets and she had to admit she hadn't.

liath Tue 04-Aug-09 20:12:51

Your vit D levels ahev to be really very low to get rickets IIRC. There has been a rise in the number of kids with rickets although it's unusual in caucasians.

puffylovett Tue 04-Aug-09 20:16:36

Rickets isn't the only reason for supplementing with vit D. There's been a load of research into it recently, and they're talking about increasing the RDA amounts. It's also heavily involved in cancer prevention, correct immune function as well as bone development and thyroid health. What I mean re immune function is that I've seen some good research recently in it inhibiting skin cell replication, so a deficiency is common in auto immune conditions like psoriasis where skin cells replicate too quickly.

What grendle said re living up north.. you get less exposure apparently because of the angle of the sun.

I choose to supplement my toddler with a chewable multi and fish oil, but that's mainly because he won't eat any veg and would choose to live on meat, fish, yoghurt and cheese - in which case his vit D levels are probably OK, as that's the other main source of it.

Grendle Tue 04-Aug-09 20:21:21

Reallytired -have you read the report I linked to? Suboptimal vit D levels that are not associated with clinical symptoms such as rickets may still have consequences for health:

"Poor maternal vitamin D status can adversely affect fetal and infant skeletal growth and ossification, tooth enamel formation and calcium handling (Specker, 1994) even in the absence of clinical rickets in the child."

and later on

"Evidence suggests that low vitamin D status is implicated in a range of diseases including osteoporosis, several forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis and type I diabetes."

As pp has said, rickets is rare in caucasians, but there is significant incidence in Afro-Caribbean and South Asian population groups.

Reallytired Tue 04-Aug-09 20:44:20

This article is interesting to see if your baby is at risk from vitamin D deficency.

I think that it would make sure sense for the mother to take the vitamin drops than the baby.

Grendle Tue 04-Aug-09 20:59:59

Not necessarily

"The vitamin D status of the infant appears to be more influenced by the vitamin D status of the mother during pregnancy, and by the infant’s sunshine exposure, than by maternal vitamin D status during lactation (Specker, 1994)."

Abstract here.

I'm not saying supplementation is always appropriate, as you can see from my own decisions that I do not believe this to be the case smile. However, this issue is not as simple as being something that white people shouldn't worry about. There are no clear definitions of what the 'right' level of sun exposure is either to balance the required supply of strong sunlight (often suggested to be 10am-3pm) vs risks of UV exposure. Defining appropriate levels of vit D can be difficult too. Kellymom asserts that vit D deficiency is rare (and the article focuses primarily on rickets, which is rare but not the only issue -see above), but evidence suggests that to achieve the UK recommended daily intake for pregnancy and lactation, most of the population will require supplementation.

I don't think that simply telling pregnant or bf women not to worry about vit D supplementation for themselves or vit D, A or C supplementation for their babies from 6 monhts up gives them the fullest info on which to make up their minds.

Grendle Tue 04-Aug-09 21:01:42

Btw -OP I agree that extreme tiredness more likely to be lack of sleep, possibly anaemia or even a new pregnancy than vit D deficiency.

logrrl Tue 04-Aug-09 21:39:39

This is interesting - my aunt, a public health nurse in Dublin asked me if I was taking Vitamin D supplements as they are now recommending it to their BF mums (she has very few..). I thought she was doting!

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