Vitamin D - she really p?$$ed me off!!

(27 Posts)
heymissy Sat 20-Nov-04 00:19:44

I took my dd to a local baby massage group recently and a nutritionist dropped by to talk to talk to and advise the mums. Amongst other things she said all black and asian children have to take extra vitamins due to a reappearance of Rickkets. As the only black mother there this was directed at me. I asked why only black and asian children?, she claimed they were prone to vitamin d deficiency. I asked why is this only the case for black and asian children? She brought the vitamin d crap up again. Quite rightly a few white mothers of mixed race children asked if thier children should also take vitamin d, she claimed there was no need because the vitamin d reserves of white women were high enough to ensure their mixed race children would not be deficient!! She may not have been sitting closely enough to notice that my dd is also mixed race. I was not sure if her wild claims included those from south east asian countries - dp is vietnamese. I was seething too much to pursue this any further, but it has p?$$ed me off. I am a researcher and will at least back up wild claims I might make with concrete facts. Has anyone heard this before, is there any sense to it and what do you think?

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MarsLady Sat 20-Nov-04 00:26:04

have 5 children and NEVER heard this before. If in doubt ask your hv, but the dts were only born in February and so if this was a new thing then I'm sure that I would have heard. Amazing how little we black women have to offer our children isn't it? Don't worry honey. I'm sure your dd is more than fine.

colinsmommy Sat 20-Nov-04 00:33:39

Actually, I remembered something about this from a couple years ago in my anatomy class. I did a really quick search and came up with this article There were actually quite a few from medical journals, but this summarized it the best.

colinsmommy Sat 20-Nov-04 00:35:12

P. S. Please excuse the fact that the article is about Americans, but that is where I come from.

hatter Sat 20-Nov-04 00:37:20

Don't know anything about this directly but my experience of health visitors is generally that they trot out whatever they're fed and if you actually challenge them they often struggle.

heymissy Sat 20-Nov-04 01:56:19

Wow!! Thanks you guys. Marslady my dd was born in Feb. also. Colinsmommy, your article was interesting and made me wonder. I am no expert when it comes to anything medical but I always thought black / or rather darker skins had a higher propensity to convert sunlight into vit d in the body as darker skins attract and absorb light better? maybe this is nonsense though I think I remember it from biology class at school. My dd does take vitamins anyway, which are available to buy over the counter, however my dd was born seven weeks early by emergency c section. There was nothing wrong with her but my blood pressure was incredible, something like 150 over 199. All prem babies take vitamins once they stop breastfeeding before the age of 1 year as a matter of routine. Thanks again for your replies guys

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JanH Sat 20-Nov-04 10:38:09

I have heard this for a long time but it's more of a problem amongst Asians living in the UK - BBC report - because as well as the lack of sun in the UK, their diet tends to be deficient in Vit D. I think from what this piece says that as long as your children have a good diet and take vitamins too they should be fine. See this bit :

<<In addition it is believed that Asian children are at a disadvantage because their skin cannot manufacture Vitaimin D from sunlight as readily as paler Caucasian skin.

It was thought that this was due to the greater pigmentation of Asian skin, but scientists now believe it may have a genetic cause, as Afro-Caribbean children are more easily able to manufacture their own Vitamin D.>>

yingers74 Sat 20-Nov-04 15:45:16

no i have never heard this before, especially the bit about white mothers vit d reserves? If it is about skin pigmentation as some suggest, what does the mother's reserves have to do with it?

what about people like myself, I am chinese?

hmb Sat 20-Nov-04 15:50:52

My understanding is that skin which has a higher levels of melanin ( ie darker skinned people)makes it harder for the body to produce Vitamin D in poor light conditions (such as found in the UK). When people with lots of melanin live in hot, sunny climates there is no problem with their manufacture of vitamin D. Similarly if you have 'white' skin you have no probelm in places like the UK.

JanH Sat 20-Nov-04 17:29:28

Another piece from the BBC , yingers.

It says "However, traditional Muslim female dress places emphasis on relatively little skin being exposed to sunlight. This can lead to a vitamin D deficiency in mothers which is then passed on to their children during and after pregnancy."

Vit D is fat-soluble so it gets stored up in the body (unlike Vit C which is water-soluble and gets flushed out if you take too much), so it figures that a pale-skinned woman who didn't cover up would get much more from sunlight and then store it, so it would pass on to the baby before birth and during breast-feeding. A dark-skinned woman who did cover up would have virtually none to pass on without taking supplements.

Yet another piece on the BBC site - here - suggests that all dark-skinned breastfed babies should get Vit D supplements, and I saw another bit (which I can't find now) which said all pregnant women should take it too. It seems to make sense.

SofiaAmes Sat 20-Nov-04 22:39:46

It's because the dark skin prevents you from absorbing as much sunlight which is the main source of vitamin d (relatively little in diet). You need vitamin d in order to make use of calcium. In the usa all milk (i think) is fortified with vitamin d. My father is a scientist whose specialty is nutrition among other things and he is always after me to make sure my children (and I) take vitamin pills and one of his main worries is that we are not getting enough vitamin d because of the lack of sunshine and we are all very white (well except me...I'm freckled). It's a pity that the nutritionist was giving you the right thing to do, but all the wrong reasons why..not exactly a great way to convince intelligent people to do something.

heymissy Sun 21-Nov-04 02:47:19

Well!! Again some interesting points there. I think the inconsistency of the advice does make it contentious (however well intended). I have very large family (carribean origins) and they have never heard of this when having children, you can imagine their faces and the uproar when I told them , (especially as my family have always teased me for being too pale -grandfather on my dad's side was white they claim I have a resemblance I DO NOT AGREE! But that's another story. Likewise couples with mixed race children, asian and arab (morrocan) friends here in the UK have also never heard of it and they are all from very large families. Can anyone shed light on yingers74's point. My dp is vietnamese and many people may originate from very hot climates but have very fair to white skin (this is the case with some of my arab friends here in UK for example). Living in the UK, where lack of decent sunlight is a british trademark would people with fair skins but hot climate origins also be prone to such vitamin d deficiency? ( as SofiaAmes points out). Perhaps the advice should be aimed at all babies, breast and bottle fed simply because of our poor sunlight climate rather than pigmentation/ skin colour. Because to be honest skin colour varies so much at the best of times and from every perspective and even more so when children are mixed race

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tatt Sun 21-Nov-04 05:46:11

I was involved in some work looking at the suggestion that chapatti flour might be fortified with vitamin D to deal with the problem of rickets in asian children. As vitamin D can be harmful in large doses it was felt the risk to asian men was too high to do this. It was a long time ago and my involvement was in a very minor way so I don't remember all the details but it was to do with asian babies being covered up more, darker skin colour not coping as well with our weak sunlight and diet as some foods do include vitamin D. Margarine is one that includes vitamin D but can't remember the others. Later the Department of Health issued advice that all women in the North of the country or those in the south with dark skinned children should take vitamin D supplements. That advice seems to have changed as I can't find it now.

Heymissy you are right to be cautious about the advice but in does make sense to investigate it further.

tatt Sun 21-Nov-04 06:01:58

This may help. As you can see it isn't only babies who may have a problem with vitamin D

LIZS Sun 21-Nov-04 08:29:37

I don't know about the claims in terms of skin pigmentation. However in Switzerland ( which is a predominantly white population) it is recommended to give Vitamin D drops to babies from one month to a year. Our paediatrician told me that he felt it should be a similar recommendation in UK because of rising incidence of rickets generally. I think Sofia Ames is right and it may be added to formula in UK too.

SofiaAmes Sun 21-Nov-04 10:02:26

I think you may be misunderstanding a little heymissy. Your family may not have heard of it because it's a fairly new understanding and hasn't really come into everyday conversation (like vit c is good for colds...the average person didn't know that 20 or 30 years ago).

People with fair skins have less melanin and therefore absorb the sunlight better and therfore absorb vitamin d better. However, if in doubt (as in the case of vietnamese skin) it's probably worth taking a vitamin pill just to make sure you are getting enough vit d (and everything else). And yes the advice should probably be aimed at people with all skin types, just in case, but it certainly is most important to get the advice across to the dark skinned populations first and foremost as there is really a problem with rickets. The next step in the campaign would probably be to reach everyone.

heymissy Mon 22-Nov-04 02:11:59

Hey guys, thanks again. Your info really helps, I'm definitely understanding more about this now. my dd has been taking vitamin drops since she stopped breastfeeding so she is covered. Prior to this when she spent some weeks in the neonatal unit her breastmilk feeds were boosted with nutriprem a multivitamin milk formula given to prem babies to boost weight gain. And yes I was confused by the pigmentation part SofiaAmes, I think I was confusing it with the rule of lighter colours = heat is reflected and darker colours heat is attracted and / absorbed. But skin is much more complex and the issue here is sunlight and not heat. In addition, I think I'll supplement both my own and dp's vitamin intake.

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Chandra Mon 22-Nov-04 02:19:40

I have heard that too, it is that white skins (commonly more used to a less intense Sun light) are able to metabolise vitamin D easily. While we, people who has grown or was meant to grow in our lovely sunny countries need more Sun light to process it.

TurnAgainCat Tue 23-Nov-04 17:07:48

I have read US women's magazine articles recommending that white women in colder areas (eg Northwestern US states) also take Vit D supplements because nowadays there is such emphasis on wearing sunblock. So, many people's skin is covered by sunblock all summer and by clothes all winter, and then the only exposed part of your body is your face in winter but covered by SPF 15 foundation. This year I deliberately skipped sunblock sometimes for ds in order to expose his skin to sunlight for vit D. I must say, I think the nutritionist was really tactless and not surprised you were annoyed.

Katty68 Sat 27-Nov-04 20:15:45

According to research (heymissy - I was a researcher too and now a lawyer so won't take any advice from anyone unless it is SCIENTIFIC !) darker-skinned children are more prone to vitamin D deficiency in cold climats. Vitamin D is routinely prescribed for ALL babies in Canada and darker-skinned babies in the USA. The Dept. of Health in the UK recommends that exclusively breastfed babies should be given vitamins A, C, D and iron past 6 months old - this is regardless of skin colour. This is because breastmilk has lower levels of these past 6 months. Formula is fortified with all of these, so no need for supplementing. I have an exclusively breastfed 5 month old DS and have been wondering about supplements, which is why I have been reading about it on the internet and elsewhere to get a clear piture . My DH and I are Middle Eastern and I worry about the lack of sunshine in England for my little DS. A lack of vitamin D results in loss of calcium absorption. It is sad that people have to make rude generalisations instead of looking at a mother and child's specific case to see what is best for them. Good luck !

MrsBigD Sat 27-Nov-04 20:24:35

Hi all, haven't had time to read the whole thread in detail. Had to add 2 things though:

HV's... well I have yet to meet a good one (no offense to any here on the board as I'm sure there must be well informed and helpful HVs out there)

Vitamine D
Myself and dh are of the caucasian persuasion and nevertheless dd was diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency at 18 months despite a healthy diet and lots of time outside in the fresh air. IMHO it's the lack of sunshine in this country (dh is a kiwi and I'm German) that's a major contributor to vitD deficiency. Also e.g. in Israel and in Germany vitD is given from birth to every child to prevent deficiency and ricketts .

heymissy Sun 28-Nov-04 01:13:39

Thank you all again

Chandra, Turnagaincat, Katty68 and Mrsbigd, those are very interesting twists to this thread. I do hope HVs and the like read our posts here hey?

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LWJ70 Wed 29-Apr-20 07:17:07

I'm resurrecting this old thread because it really brings to light the public's response to scientific and medical evidence. In relation to the tragic and disproportionate BAME deaths from covid 19, it is very important to raise our levels of vitamin D3 after a long cold dark british winter.

The first two worldwide studies of vit D3 status of covi 19 patients are here:

The Alipio study only used data from patients who already had their levels tested. Therefore it proves the covid 19 virus DIDN'T reduce their levels, they were already deficient BEFORE they caught the disease.

In 30 years studying science professionally, I have never seen success probabilities as high as these. These statistics are mind-bogglingly highly significant

Conclusion: we could be 10 times more likely to die of covid 19 if we are admitted to hospital and have vitamin D deficiency even if we have no underlying conditions like obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

An expert on vitamin D3 has produced a video which analyses the two blood studies and explains the outcomes and the science in simple terms. He filmed this yesterday:

InTheFamilyTree Sun 10-May-20 21:14:26

Yes, I came across this, complete with references to science journals:

Am surprised that the link to Vit D deficiency hasn't been given more attention by the mainstream media yet

SmiledWithTheRisingSun Tue 14-Jul-20 22:22:57

Yes I have heard this often OP.

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