It has always been known that breast milk nourishes the newborn providing ample nutritional benefits, but it may not be the same for all children in the world, according to a new study.
The study published in the American Journal of Public Health
reported that infants who are breastfed for more than one year, even though given solid foods have an increased risk of being vitamin D deficit. These findings were proven to be accurate for children living far away from the equator.
‘Children who are breastfed for a longer period are at greater risk of developing Vitamin D deficiency, even if they are given solid foods.’
Researchers from the University of Toronto conducted the study using data from 2,500 children in the age group of 1-5 years. The children were monitored for the breast feeding practices, duration of breastfeeding, vitamin D supplementation and finally blood samples were collected.
The study found that children who were breastfed for more than a year without supplements were deficient in vitamin D while children who were breastfed along with supplements did not have the risk of being vitamin D deficient.
Children who were breastfed up to 24 months had an estimated 16 percent risk of low levels of vitamin D and the number increased to 29 percent when the child breastfed up to 36 months.
Therefore, the researchers suggested that children should not be breastfed for a longer period and also Vitamin D supplements must be given during their first year. The more children are breastfed, the more are the chances of developing vitamin D deficiency.
"We're not saying that breastfeeding is not a really great source of nutrition, but up here in the northern parts of the world not much vitamin D passes through breast milk," said study coauthor Dr. Jonathon Maguire.
Reference: Jonathon L. Maguire, Denise Darmawikarta et al. Total Duration of Breastfeeding, Vitamin D Supplementation, and Serum Levels of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D, American Journal of Public Health
2016, doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.303021