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Okay, so we should be giving infants vitamin D supplements rather than taking them out in the sun for 10-15 minutes???? Are you serious?! 10-15 minutes is nothing....this is so ridiculous. The only point in there that made any sense is that babies born in the winter months would be more deficient. If a breast-feeding mother were to take a fairly large supplement amount, wouldn't that be included in her breast milk? At least that way both mother and baby are protected during the winter months.
My wife and I take our son out constantly for walks. (Carried, not strolled.) It's loads of fun for the baby and the parents, not to mention the strength training, and some of my best time with my son has been carrying him around our neighborhood -- especially near dawn or dusk time, when primal instincts seem to heighten.
Vitamin D is only one of the reasons all babies benefit from, and clearly enjoy, being carried around in the great outdoors. C'mon, we're supposed to believe that Baby Grok was kept in a cave all day and fed vitamin extracts? Our boy hasn't had anything like a sunburn yet (though we cover him up with safari hats and long clothing when the sun is strong, and never expose him for long stretches of time).
I just attended the Weston A. Price Foundation's London conference, Wise Traditions. The expertise presented was about what humans have evolved to eat and which traditions continue to support such eating. I hope I have time soon to write a post about it, but I thought I'd mention what Sally Fallon, the Foundation's creator had to say about vitamin D--I can only paraphrase from memory, so I hope I've got it right!
She said that the recommendation that people be exposed to sunlight 10-15 minutes a day for their vitamin D requirements is bunk. For humans to produce vitamin D from the sun, we require the sun to be at its strongest, directly overhead, and for areas above or below the equator this means only in the middle of the summer. She said that contrary to CW, we store vitamin D only for a couple or a few weeks.
In fact, traditional societies obtained their vitamin D from animal products! The catch is that the animals MUST be pasture fed, or from the ocean. One of the best sources comes from raw milk, as it also includes vitamin A. Another very good source is from fish eggs. So, if your kids and babes and breastfeeding mothers are consuming plenty of vitamin D from these products, exposure to sunlight is not quite so necessary, if at all.
Another interesting thing I learned (somewhat related) is that vitamin A overdose is not possible if its source is accompanied by vitamin D and K2.
Sally's advice to me seems to make sense. When I go back to live in Finland in the fall and winter I'll be taking a D supplement. There's barely any sun, but most importantly, pasture fed animals are impossible to come by: all pastures are covered in ice and snow for months on end!
Beauty, interesting post. I remember reading on Dr.Davis' Heart Scan Blog that our body becomes less efficient at converting sunlight to vitamin D after the age of 30. Sally Fallon's advice definitely makes sense.
I give my 9.5 mo baby some drops of a supplement. It is the only supplement I give him because he's not eating raw fish livers or raw milk (other than mommy's!) and we live in WI, so in the winter it is difficult to get any sun.
Beauty, was that 10-15 minutes for adults or babies though? The article said 10-15 minutes for babies, which made sense to me because they're small people Mark recommends an hour every day for adults in order to get enough vitamin D. With that said, I take a vitamin D supplement right now, and it's really helped ease my winter blues lately.
I just get so tired of hearing that children (and adults) should completely avoid the sun at all costs and slather themselves with sunscreen every hour if they are out. What a waste of money and sunshine.