Just "D" Facts about Vitamin D

Benefits of Moderate UV Sunshine Exposure

Sunny D needed for healthy babies

Posted by D3forU on May 19, 2008

The vast majority of pregnant women in Ireland have low vitamin D levels, according to new research.

Scientists at University College Cork said this deficiency has implications for healthy growth and development in the child’s early life.

Many of us in this country are low in vitamin D because of the climate and long winter.

Severe vitamin D deficiency causes poor development of the bones in children and softening of the bones in adults.

Without vitamin D, calcium cannot be absorbed in the body, slowing bone growth and development.

Pregnant women need more calcium because the baby relies on its mother for its vitamin D stores. Good sources include fatty fish, fortified milks, cereals, baked beans, eggs, low-fat yogurt and supplements.

But the scientists stress that sunlight remains a critical source.

Vitamin D is made by the action of the sun on our skin therefore sunlight, seasons and skin colour are key factors that determine our vitamin D levels.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding make use of the sunnier weather and try to get out for at least 20 minutes a day — but be mindful of skin cancer and ensure you use a sunscreen if exposed for long periods.

UCC scientists Mairead Kiely and her team are now looking at the potential of vitamin D as an ingredient in functional beverages for breast-feeding mothers.

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