Monday, April 07, 2008

Yet another Doctor Update

HA! My bone scan was completely normal!!! And this for a normal woman my age, not even a lactating one!!! This is great because after my last doctor's visit, I took the time to do a search of the medical literature regarding bone health and lactation. I found some great review articles and research studies including this one. The gist of all of them is this: during pregnancy, the woman's body pulls the extra calcium for the baby's bones, etc. from the mom's diet (this explains why pregnant women crave dairy and other calcium-rich foods), but during breastfeeding, the woman's body automatically takes the calcium for the breastmilk from the woman's bones, no matter what amount of calcium the woman has in her diet. So, the leaching of calcium from a woman's bones when she is breastfeeding is completely normal and nothing to be worried about because after a woman stops lactating, her body puts back the calcium in the bones. This redepositing of calcium is pretty rapid and occurs within 6 months of the stop of lactation, and it actually leaves the bones stronger than before lactation. Our bodies are so cool!!!

I also found out that my vitamin D levels are high, not low! Yipee!! Guess my attempts to get at least 15 minutes of sunlight a day and taking my Omega-3/DHA supplement are paying off. Sunlight is the best way to get vit. D, though please do not burn yourself in the name of vitamin D! Sadly, the vitamin D the food companies add to our milk, orange juice, and other foods is vitamin D2 which is made from plants and not very easily absorbed by our bodies. Our bodies need D3 and this is what we produce when our skin is exposed to the sun. So all you sun-aphobes, please do not lurk in the shadows! We need vitamin D because it helps regulate the levels and absorption of calcium and phosphorus in our bodies, it promotes bone formation and mineralization, it keeps the parathyroid in check, and it promotes anti-tumor and other immune system activities. So, a bit of sunshine every day = keeps away cancer, but too much sunshine = sunburns and a higher risk of skin cancer. So stay safe! And if you still don't get enough sun, or live in a non-tropical area like most of us do, you might want to consider a cod liver oil supplement or some other Omega-3 supplement since the UV-B rays that are needed to produce vitamin D in our skin:

  • Latitude -- the further north you are the less there is
  • Time of Year -- virtually none available in winter in continental U.S.
  • Clouds -- can block UV-B
  • Pollution -- smog and ozone can block UV-B
  • Altitude -- the higher up you are the more UV-B reaches you

So, in sum, I am a healthy but skinny mama! I need to eat a bunch of calories each day to support me and my bf-ing toddler. Peace out - I need a snack!

No comments: