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Health & Pregnancy

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Expectant Moms Need Milk's Vitamin D

Lower-Birth-Weight Babies Linked to Too Little Milk During Pregnancy

Drink More Milk, Have Bigger Babies continued...

The other reason the women in Koski's study had relatively low vitamin D levels is that even when they take vitamin D supplements, people may not get enough vitamin D. Hollis says that after about 15 minutes of noonday sun, the body makes 20,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D. Yet the recommended daily amount of vitamin D -- based, Hollis says, on very sketchy and outdated evidence -- is only 200-600 IU.

Hollis has grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to investigate high-dose vitamin D supplements for pregnant and lactating women. In the pregnancystudy, he's giving women up to 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day. In the lactation study, he's exploring doses up to 6,000 IU per day.

The results won't be in for another 2.5 years. Meanwhile, Hollis advises pregnant women to take up to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day -- far higher than current recommendations. But those may change. Hollis is a member of an Institute of Medicine panel that in 2007 will review official vitamin D advice.

"In my estimation, the recommendations will change dramatically," Hollis says.

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