Vegetarian diet, Vitamin D Levels

A study from the Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and the Perinatal Research Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health has revealed that women who eat a vegetarian diet have higher levels of 1,25-didyroxy-vitamin D than meat eaters. The researchers focused special attention on women who were breastfeeding their children. They feared that their diet was not adequate to provide sufficient vitamin D for their infants, as their diet was mostly whole grain cereals and vegetables. The women in this study generally avoided meats, eggs, and dairy products. Vitamin D is necessary for proper absorption of calcium and it was thought that these women, on what is considered a low calcium diet, may be unable to give their infants the recommended calcium. Furthermore, a vegetarian diet containing large amounts of grains may be high in phytate, which had until recently been thought to hinder calcium absorption. The researchers conclude that the body is able to adapt to varying dietary and physiologic conditions, making the necessary adjustment to provide adequate calcium levels.
(Obstetrics and Gynecology 70(6)870-874, December 1987)
Copyright 1987 Phylis A Austin)

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