Below we are posting a section of a message from Dr. John Cannell, Executive Director of the Vitamin D Council, written about the pioneering vitamin D research of Dr. Bruce Hollis. It explains how important vitamin D3 is during pregnancy and nursing!
Professor Hollis is the scientist who provided the best reason to keep your vitamin D level around 50 ng/ml. Some scientists say 20 ng/ml is good enough because parathyroid hormone (PTH) is pretty much suppressed with levels of 20, other scientists say levels should be 30 because calcium absorption is maximized with that level. That is, PTH suppression and calcium absorption are biomarkers for adequate vitamin D blood levels.
Professor Hollis provided another biomarker, one every woman – and most men – can immediately accept as the best biomarker yet: how much vitamin D does a woman need to be sure that her breast milk has adequate vitamin D? When you think about it, that’s about as good as biomarkers get.
Professor Hollis answered that question in his research, finding that when a lactating woman has vitamin D blood levels of 40-50 ng/ml, her breast milk finally has enough vitamin D to support the vitamin D levels of her nursing infant. At levels below 40, the vitamin D content of breast milk becomes unpredictable. I’d say Bruce’s discovery is more important than PTH or calcium absorption. I also say the women (and men) on the recent vitamin D FNB panel should be ashamed of themselves for apparently not knowing this.
I always wondered how that could be, after first learning in medical school that human breast milk – unlike the breast milk of wild mammals – has little or no vitamin D. How could Nature’s perfect food be void of the pre-hormone needed for infant growth and development? Bruce answered the question, breast milk is not void of it, it is just that virtually all modern lactating women are void of it. Thanks Bruce, you will be missed.
Our book explains in more detail why you will need about 1000 IU of vitamin D3 for every 25 lbs of body weight, but it’s better to verify your levels with a blood test as soon as you decide to have a baby (or even if you just want to maximize your health.) It will increase your fertility and help to keep you healthy throughout the winter flu season.