Omega-3 essential fatty acids can be divided into two categories: plant sources (linseed oil, containing ALA), or marine sources (fish oil, containing EPA and DHA).
Humans convert ALA to EPA and DHA at a slower rate and which may be affected by many factors. For example, too much Omega-6 or trans fatty acids from the diet of fast food and baked goods, alcohol, some specific health conditions or lack of vitamins and minerals (vitamins B3, B6, zinc, magnesium, etc.). According to clinical studies, the ability of humans to convert ALA to EPA is only about 15%, and most people are not even able to convert ALA to DHA. Linseed oil is a healthy oil that can also bring many benefits to the human body; however, it is not a good source of EPA and DHA. On the contrary, marine sources such as fish oil and algae oil contain the kind of EPA and DHA that can be directly absorbed by human body.
The difference between fish oil and cod liver oil is that fish oil is extracted from the flesh of tuna, herring, cod and other deep-sea oily fish species whereas cod liver oil comes from the liver of the cod fish. Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA but doesn’t have much vitamin A or D; on the other hand, cod liver oil has less omega-3s but is very rich in vitamins A and D.
Some rumors have pointed out that cod liver oil contains a high concentration of vitamin A, which may pose a potential risk to the human body. This issue stems from the fact that almost all cod liver oil products on the market are supplemented with vitamin A (whether natural or synthetic). There will be a situation where many cod liver oil products are not extracted from real cod liver. Many brands on the market use fish oil extracted from the general fish body (for example, from green carp or haddock), because the cost is relatively cheaper, and then artificially added vitamin A and vitamin D to mimic the composition of cod liver oil. This is not illegal because the international standard for the production of cod liver oil has only one rule – the specific EPA ratio of the final product (EPA to DHA) is in line with the true cod liver oil ratio. However, this practice is not appropriate. 100% natural cod liver oil contains a low concentration of natural, fat-soluble vitamin A, which is suitable for human health. On the contrary, the vitamin A content from artificial cod liver oil is often higher than 5000 IU, which can be really risky for children.
Natural cod liver oil supplementation generally contains an average of 650-1500 IU of vitamin A per serving, which is relatively low compared to the common cod liver oil supplementations on the market ( often contain more than 4500 IU of vitamin A). However, the vitamin A in the synthetic cod liver oil is often too high, which may exceed the proper daily intake recommendation, especially the products for children. The recommended daily nutrient intake (Daily Value, DV) is 5,000 IU for adults, 2,500 IU for children under four years old, and 8,000 IU for pregnant and lactating women. So, go check out the cod liver oil supplementations at hand, see what is the vitamin A content in the supplement facts.
Moms-to-be need to supplement DHA, which is well known. The AMERICAN PREGNANCY ASSOCIATION recommended that pregnant women should have a daily DHA intake of no less than 300 mg to meet their baby’s development needs. However, nowadays, due to too many sources of pollution, the accumulation of heavy metals, environmental toxins, animal drugs in fish has multiplied. If you eat fish every day, you might put yourself and your unborn baby’s health at risk.
Another topic that is often debated on the Internet – “Should pregnant women take EPA or not?”. Rumor has it that taking EPA could lead to some negative effect. The fact is EPA itself is not risky for pregnant women at all. In Taiwan, some manufacturers used such information to manipulate, obfuscate and mislead consumers, EPA has been rumored to be a bad nutrient for pregnant women. The most correct theory is: 100% of pregnant women need EPA, but need to control the intake of EPA. Taking EPA has many positive effects on pregnant women and fetuses; this part has been confirmed by many clinical studies. Nowadays, many medical professionals, including well-known obstetricians and gynecologists, who have all recommended EPA could be taken during pregnancy until delivery, and proved it’s riskless to pregnant women.
HERE ARE OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PREGNANT WOMEN：
1. Take fish oil containing a small amount of EPA, and the DHA content is recommended to be more than 300 mg.
2. Do not take only DHA-containing algae oil, because DHA is insufficient for pregnant women and fetuses. Only 4%-11% of DHA in the body can be converted to EPA, which is not enough to provide the daily needs for pregnant women.
3. Select fish oil wisely. Choose fish oil has fair inspection reports, especially for freshness, heavy metals, environmental toxins, and microbiological tests.
4. It is good to have a good third-party agency to recommend the brand; it’s another kind of quality assurance.
5. Small size capsules of fish oil are more suitable for pregnant women and women to swallow.
Although formulas have been around for decades, the value of breast milk for babies is still irreplaceable. There are thousands of nutrients in the mother’s milk, many of which are beneficial to the development of the brain and nervous system, and are most effectively absorbed by the baby. Also, compared to formula, breast milk is relatively safe and non-polluting. After nine years of research on the growth patterns of young children in six very different countries (Brazil, Ghana, India, Norway, Oman and the United States), the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has set international standards for children under age of 5, which is applicable for children worldwide. WHO believes that beyond genetic and ethnic factors, the major differences in the growth for children under five years of age are influenced by nutrition, feeding methods, environment and health care, and the conclusion is recommended breastfeeding!
Breastfeeding has all sorts of benefits for both mother and baby. While breastfeeding, a healthy diet will provide a mother with the energy she needs to care for herself and her baby. More importantly, eating healthy foods could help mothers shed the pregnancy weight faster. Breast milk is very nutritious, it contains everything a baby requires for proper development during the first six months of life. The World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend that breastfeeding begin within one hour after delivery; exclusive breastfeeding should be carried out during the first six months of life; adequate nutrition and safe non-staple foods should be added at the age of six months, while continuing breastfeeding for two years or more.
The composition of breast milk is dynamic. From the first day of birth to the last day of breastfeeding, the fat, carbohydrate and protein composition of breast milk will change with the growth and development of newborns to meet the special needs of individual infant’s demand. The ingredients of breast milk change along with the time of breastfeeding. The milk at the beginning of a feeding is more watery, and the milk that comes later is thicker, higher in fat and more nutritious. The pre-milk allows the baby to quench his thirst, while the high-fat post-milk is the food for the baby and gives the baby a message to stop sucking. Generally, an ounce (28 ml) of breast milk contains 19–23 calories, with 3.6–4.8% from protein, 28.8–32.4% from fat and 26.8–31.2% from carbs, mostly lactose. Moreover, breast milk also contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, D, E, K, beta carotene, calcium, potassium, chlorine, iron, zinc and so on. Breast milk can fully meet the nutritional needs of infants for the first 6 months. After 6 months, even if adding non-staple foods to the baby’s diet, breast milk can continue to provide important nutrients and growth factors for up to 2 years. Therefore, breast milk is considered to be the Godsent perfect food for the baby.
Breastfeeding mothers require 500 more calories per day than non-breastfeeding mothers, but each mother is different and your energy needs change with the breastfeeding process. The number of calories you need will depend on your baby’s age, size and appetite, as well as your own body BMI, exercise volume, and other factors, such as whether your baby is exclusively breastfed, or whether you are feeding twins or multiple births. As the demand for calories increases, the nutritional needs of women during breastfeeding will also increase. In fact, many of the nutritional needs during lactation are actually higher than during pregnancy, and your breastmilk are a reflection of the nutrients in your diet, including fat-soluble vitamins and some B-vitamins (see Group 1 nutrients). This means that if your diet does not provide these nutrients, then your baby won’t get them either.
For other nutrients, the levels in your breastmilk are not directly correlated to your diet, including important minerals such as folic acid, calcium, iron and zinc (see Group 2 nutrients). Even if they are not in your diet, these nutrients will be present in your breast milk. However, if these nutrients are low in your diet, your body will transfer these nutrients from your bones and tissues to your breast milk for delivery to your baby. Therefore, your baby will always get the nutrition she or he needs, but this may come at the cost of leaving you depleted.
Group 1 Nutrients
Below are the group 1 nutrients and some common food sources :
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) : Fish, pork, seeds, nuts and bread.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) : Cheese, almonds, nuts, red meat, oily fish and eggs.
Vitamin B6 : Seeds, nuts, fish, poultry, pork, bananas and dried fruit.
Vitamin B12 : Shellfish, liver, oily fish, crab and shrimp.
Choline : Eggs, beef liver, chicken liver, fish and peanuts.
Vitamin A : Sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, organ meats and eggs.
Vitamin D : Cod liver oil, oily fish, some mushrooms and fortified foods.
Selenium : Brazil nuts, seafood, fish, whole wheat and seeds.
Iodine : Dried seaweed, cod, milk and iodized salt.
If you are deficient or don’t get adequate amounts Group 1 nutrients in your diet, the amount of Group 1 nutrients in your breast milk will be substantially reduced. Therefore, it is important for you and your baby to get sufficient amounts of these nutrients from your diet or supplement.
Group 2 Nutrients
Below are the group 2 nutrients and some common food sources :
Folate : Beans, lentils, leafy greens, asparagus and avocados.
Calcium : Milk, yogurt, cheese, leafy greens and legumes.
Iron : Red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, beans, green vegetables and dried fruit.
Copper : Shellfish, whole grains, nuts, beans, organ meats and potatoes.
Zinc : Oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts and dairy.
The amounts of nutrients in Group 2 in breast milk are not affected by your dietary intake or body stores. If your intake is low, your body will take these nutrients from your own bones and tissue stores to secrete them into your breast milk. Therefore, your baby will always get the right amount of nutrients. However, if you don’t have enough from your diet, your body will be suffered and depleted. To avoid deficiency, these nutrients must come from your diet or supplements.
For most women, while it may seem intuitive to stop taking prenatal vitamins after birth, continuing to take them postpartum can help ensure that you get the nutrients you need during lactation. In fact, taking a prenatal while nursing may be especially important given that many nutrient demands increase while breastfeeding. In other words, you should not rely on your prenatal vitamins to meet all your nutritional needs. Here are some of the specific nutrients that many breastfeeding women are lack, and you should know which nutrients to supplement to help you and your baby get the best nutrition.
1. Make sure you get enough Vitamin D while breastfeeding –
The amount of vitamin D found in breast milk is directly related to the level of vitamin D in the mother. Unfortunately, common factors such as lack of sun exposure and limited fish intake may affect the adequate vitamin D stores of a new mother’s. As a result, the amount of vitamin D provided by breast milk is generally insufficient to meet the dietary needs of a developing infant. So what should breastfeeding mothers do to help solve this problem? In order to transfer enough vitamin D to breast milk, research reports that breastfed mothers need to take enough Vitamin D per day. Pediatricians also strongly recommend supplementing infants with vitamin D. However, even if you supplement your baby with vitamin D, it’s still important for you, a breastfeeding mother, to supplement yourself in order to prevent the depletion of your own vitamin D stores.
2. Obtaining a sufficient amount of Omega-3s fatty acids EPA and DHA during breastfeeding is critical –
DHA is very important for both mother and baby during pregnancy, and in order to provide enough amount for her fetus, a mother’s DHA stores can easily become depleted. Unfortunately, this cycle continues when you are breastfeeding. In short, if your DHA intake is low, then the amount in your breast milk will be low. American Pregnancy Association recommended that pregnant and lactating women take at least 300 mg of DHA per day. Meanwhile, don’t forget other key omega-3s, EPA. More importantly, the consumption of sufficient amounts of EPA and DHA has also proven beneficial to body composition. Some studies have shown that supplementation with Omega-3s fatty acids can help women recover to pre-pregnancy weight more quickly, especially combine with breastfeeding.
The innumerable effects of vitamin D on the human body have been confirmed by many studies over the past decades. However, the importance and demand of this important vitamin for the human body is still commonly misunderstood.
MISUNDERSTANDING 1: YOU CAN USE FOOD TO GET ENOUGH VITAMIN D
Unfortunately, this is a misconception. Only a small amount of food contains vitamin D, and the content is not high. It is impossible to obtain sufficient vitamin D from the food source alone. Sources of vitamin D in the diet include oil-rich fish (such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, squid, etc.), egg yolk, beef liver, and mushroom mites. However, these foods usually contain low levels of vitamin D, less than 150 IU per serving. The two main ways to get vitamin D are by exposing your bare skin to sunlight and by taking vitamin D supplements.
MISUNDERSTANDING 2: IF YOU LIVE IN A SUNNY AREA, YOU SHOULD GET ENOUGH VITAMIN D
Getting enough sunlight is very important for maintaining optimal vitamin D levels. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur. However, where you live, the season, and the time of day affect how much ultraviolet B ( UVB) also influence your production of vitamin D. Even if you live in a sunny area, you still can’t get enough vitamin D from the sun. During the winter season, there is very little UVB in the form of UVB in the north latitudes – these amounts are not sufficient to produce vitamin D. The norther the place of residence ( the farther away from the equator), the less the UVB. For example, in North Atlanta, USA, from November to February, UVB ultraviolet rays that produce vitamin D are clearly insufficient. Some northern areas, such as New York City, the time lacking of UVB is even longer.
FACT 1: VITAMIN D IS ACTUALLY A HORMONE RATHER THAN A VITAMIN
What makes vitamin D unique compared to other vitamins, is that when your body gets its vitamin D, it turns vitamin D into a hormone. This hormone is sometimes called “activated vitamin D” or “calcitriol.” It plays an important role in many parts of the human body. In recent studies, we have found more and more functionality that we did not know about vitamin D before.
FACT 2: FDA DOUBLES THE AMOUNT OF VITAMIN D DAILY INTAKE RECENTLY
Vitamin D adequacy is best determined by measurement of the 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration in the blood. In many recent vitamin D studies, there is a growing consensus among medical experts that the ideal concentration of vitamin D in the blood should be above 75–80 nmol/L. Even though people have gradually realized the importance of vitamin D to the human body, the testing result shows that most people still overlook the vitamin D deficiency. Many domestic and international inspection reports indicate that everyone must pay more attention to whether the body is adequate of vitamin D, and supplement it early. To help people increase their vitamin D intake, many health organizations have increased their daily recommended intake of vitamin D. In 2010, the US FDA doubled the daily recommended intake of vitamin D. In 2016, the FDA doubled again – for adults and children over the age of four, the recommended intake increased from 400 IU to 800 IU. Even though the FDA has significantly increased the daily recommendation of vitamin D, many experts and scholars still feel inadequate and worried. This is why the detection of vitamin D is very important, the adequacy of vitamin D content in your body can be confirmed after testing. The daily intake of high-quality vitamin D supplements could ensure that you get enough vitamin D content regardless of the weather or other environmental factors in your place of residence.
Fish oil products have made them among the most popular dietary supplements on the market in Taiwan. How to choose right fish oil supplements is likely to be the choice customers often face.
1. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INDICATOR IN PICKING FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS – “FRESHNESS”
The most important indicator of fish oil is freshness, which is also a key factor affecting the flavor of fish oil. All oils are susceptible to oxidation, but fish oil is highly susceptible due to its characteristic of fatty acid. Light, oxygen exposure, and heat can all contribute to oxidation. Once the fish oil begins to oxidize, it will start creating unpleasant fishy flavor and odors, which could also cause a risk to the human body. Therefore, it is necessary to make sure the quality assurance process from the source manufacturer!
The easiest way to tell whether or not your fish oil supplement is fresh is to put it through the taste and smell test. The first step is to break a fish oil capsule open, if your nose gets a strong fishy smell, it means your fish oil supplement has been oxidized and you should just throw it away. Getting a third-party laboratory inspection report is a more accurate way to provide evidence. The first is the PV value, also known as the “Peroxide Value”. The second indicator is the AV value, the AV value refers to the “Anisidine Value”, and the third value is the AV + 2 (PV) = TOTOX value. These values will give you a clear picture of the freshness level of your fish oil supplement. Just remember, the lower these numbers are, the better.
In short: PV (Peroxide Value) = The peroxide content contained now in fish oil is the PV value. AV (Anisidine Value) = Further oxidation of the peroxide will form an AV value. The AV value represents how the fish oil is treated at the front end of the manufacturing plant. When it is manufactured, if it encounters a poor high temperature and oxygen-containing process, and an initial oxide will be formed, which will further become the subsequent Anisidine Value. As a result, the most intact indicator is the TOTOX value = AV+2 (PV)
As for the values, what are the qualifications? All third-party organizations such as the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED) and the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) have recommended: PV should be less than 5 mEq/kg, AV should be less than 20 mEq/kg, and TOTOX should be less than 26 mEq/kg. Therefore, you should purchase the fish oil products from the manufacturers who can provide you the report that meets the standard.
2. UNDERSTANDING THE TYPES OF FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS
There are many types of fish oil products on the market, including concentrated re-esterified triglyceride fish oil, natural triglyceride type fish oil, free fatty acid fish oil, and ethyl ester type concentrated fish oil. Which type has a higher absorption rate and best for the human body?
Fish naturally contain the omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) as triglyceride esters. A general Natural TG fish oil capsule provides a maximum of 300 mg of combined EPA and DHA per 1,000 mg of oil. To reduce the intake amount of capsules, the manufacturer produces concentrated fish oil instead, and increase the EPA and DHA content. Usually A 1000 mg concentrated fish oil capsule can be raised to more than 500 mg of EPA + DHA. Before purifying fish oil and increasing EPA and DHA levels, individual EPA and DHA fatty acids must be removed from their triglyceride structure and excess fatty acids need to be removed as well. Once the expected concentration of EPA and DHA is reached, the manufacturer must choose between two different options. The first is to reconnect EPA and DHA fatty acids to reconstitute the natural triglyceride structure (a process known as “re-esterification”). The cost of the second option is much lower: let the fatty acid retain a concentrated esterification pattern (EE FORM), which is a “new state” fatty acid type with only 20 years of history in human diet.
Many of the concentrated fish oil supplements on the market choose the Ester form (EE form), for the reason of lower cost. However, the TG molecular type of natural essential fatty acids ensures the higher rate of absorption and utilization, thereby achieving high quality results. A recent study in September 2010 has confirmed that the re-esterified triglyceride (rTG) has proven to be the most effective type. The results showed that that the unadjusted mean relative bioavailability EPA+DHA was 73% from EE, 91% from FFA and 124% from rTG. The re-esterified triglycerides was superior (124%) compared with natural fish oil.
1. WHY VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTATION MATTERS FOR BABIES?
Newborns are rarely taken out to a sunbath, and his/her vitamin D supplementation can only be obtained from breast milk or formula. If the mother has higher vitamin D levels, her breastfed baby would receive higher vitamin D levels through the breast milk. Formula milk is also designed to take the lack of vitamin D into consideration. In order to prevent the baby from having vitamin D deficiency, there are two things to be aware of: first of all, the mother must supplement sufficient vitamin D herself. Secondly, if the mother’s vitamin D level is low or the breastfeeding time is longer, giving the baby extra vitamin D supplementation is considered.
2. DOES BREAST MILK CONTAIN VITAMIN D? WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED AMOUNT OF VITAMIN D INTAKE?
For babies, due to the diet limits, small amount of food intake, and lesser sun exposure, taking a supplement to achieve recommended levels of vitamin D intake is necessary. The average vitamin D content in breast milk is 22 IU/L (15-50 IU/L). Calculated by the average infant’s daily intake of 750 ml, the pure breastfeeding baby can only get about 11-38 IU/Day of vitamin D through the mother’s milk. It is far below the recommended intake of 400 IU/Day. Therefore, breastfed or semi-breastfed babies, and babies who are maladaptive to formula or complementary foods may generally have vitamin D deficiency. Taiwan Pediatrics Association recommended that exclusively breastfed or partially breastfed babies should be supplemented 400 IU of vitamin D daily. In addition, children who use formulas need to give 400 IU of vitamin D supplement per day if they consume less than 1,000 ml of vitamin D-rich formula or milk powder daily. In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that all newborns to be supplemented with 400 IU per day right after birth, compared with the past, which is doubled the recommended dose to ensure that the daily needs of infants and young children are met.
3. WHEN SHOULD YOU STOP GIVING VITAMIN D TO YOUR BABY?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that exclusively breastfed or partially breastfed babies should be supplemented 400 IU of vitamin D daily.
4. AFTER STARTING COMPLEMENTARY FEEDING, DO BABIES STILL NEED TO SUPPLEMENT VITAMIN D?
After a baby reaches 6 months old, start try a variety of complementary foods, is adding vitamin D supplement still necessary? The answer is “YES”. Natural foods contain less vitamin D, in addition to liver, eggs and marine fish; however, the vitamin D content in liver, eggs and marine fish is actually not that high. One egg yolk is about 40 IU of vitamin D; eating 10 egg yolks would just reach the amount of 400 IU. Hence, having complementary food does not affect the baby to receive the supplemental vitamin D daily.
5. CAN YOU GET ENOUGH VITAMIN D FROM SUNLIGHT?
Vitamin D can be synthesized in the bare skin upon exposure to UVB rays from the sun. However, there are several problems: First, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies within 6 months should not be exposed to sunlight directly. Because baby’s skin is very delicate; when expose to the sun improperly, it is easy to cause skin burns. Meanwhile, if the sun directly hit baby’s eyes, it is also easy to cause harm, the risk is high. For age more than 6 months, you need to pay attention to sun protection, such as avoiding strong UV rays, applying sunscreen, wearing long-sleeve trousers, and wearing wide-brimmed hats. Secondly, it is difficult to control the amount of vitamin D obtained from the sun; plus, the sun protection measures, air pollution, the sunshine intensity and other factors would all affect the effect. Therefore, although it is necessary for the baby to have proper outdoor activities to obtain certain amounts of vitamin D, it is not suggested to rely on the sun to supplement the vitamin D, in case of vitamin D deficiency.
6. WHAT ARE THE COMMON VITAMIN D PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET? HOW TO CHOOSE?
Liquid vitamin D products are best for infants and young children. Liquid products are easy to use and can be applied to mother’s nipples, pacifiers, spoons, or add into formulas and complementary foods. In terms of the formulas, it is essential to use oil that is easy to preserve, and use olive oil in some parts. However, in subtropical countries, the formulation of such base oil is easy to oxidized, produce bad oil odor and affect the product quality. The high viscosity characteristic of olive oil also tends to make it difficult to flow out of the dripper, not that ease-of-use.
Another common base oil is coconut oil, which is more stable than olive oil and is widely used due to the low cost. However, more than 50% of the main component of coconut oil is lauric acid, which is a long-chain fatty acid and has lower absorption rate.
The top base oil is medium chain triglyceride (MCT), a highly purified oil component of coconut oil that has been removed from lauric acid and other impure fats. Medium chain triglyceride (MCT) has the advantages of great stability, high absorption, good fluidity, not ease of oxidation and easy to preserve. It is the highest quality of oil formula for liquid vitamin D3.
In most cases, breast milk or formula can provide the nutrients your baby needs in the first four to six months. After 4 to 6 months of age, as the baby's diet gradually changes from a full-liquid diet to a diet with more and more solid foods, he may or may not need additional nutritional supplements. It will depend on how balanced the baby’s diet of six categories (grains, roots, rhizomes, meat, fish, egg, milk, oils and fats, vegetables and fruits).
But there are exceptions. For example, if the baby was born premature, at a low birth weight, or has a small gestational age at birth, extra vitamin supplements may be needed. Or, compared with other babies of the same age, if the baby has been drinking less breast milk or formula, yet there is no additional supplements from food to make up the insufficiency. Or, if the baby has poor appetite, poor food intake of the main meal, excessive partial eclipse, or do not like to eat fruits and vegetables, and thus cause imbalance of nutrition, then parents should consider nutritional supplements to help the baby to supplement moderately.
The health of the mother will also affect the nutrition of breast milk. For example, mothers who have undergone gastric bypass surgery or take certain medications daily may have a poorer ability to absorb nutrients, which could reduce nutrients in breast milk. Or if the breastfeeding mothers are vegetarians, lacking vitamin B12, iron, zinc, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids are often occurred. Vegan mothers and babies may need extra effort to make up insufficient nutrients through food or multivitamin mineral supplements.
The nutritional status of most infants and young children in Taiwan is either over-nutrition or deficiency. “Balanced Nutrition" is the key to make your baby grow up healthily. Nutritional unbalanced babies, their development may be slow. Therefore, it is important to develop a good eating habit when the baby is 1 to 3 years old. Get balanced nutrients from food, along with additional supplementations recommended by doctors, can help the baby build a good foundation in the key periods of growth and develop good intelligence and physical strength.
For babies who need supplemental nutrition, here are two principles as guidelines for Daddy and Mommy to follow: First, in addition to carefully observing whether the baby really needs nutritional supplements, you can also consult doctors and get advised. Then aim at the missing nutrients, get the right amount supplements whether by food or nutritional supplements. However, do not try to supplement everything, that will only make the baby's nutrition more imbalanced. Second, when babies supplement the nutrition, the dose should be much less than adults. Because the baby's body organs are not yet fully developed, the amount of need is less than that of adults. Must be aware of the dosage on the label. The excessive amounts of vitamins may cause the baby's physical burden. Here are some nutritional supplements your baby’s doctor may recommend:
Iron deficiency is a common syndrome in children, especially in infants from 6 months to 2 years old. A large number of studies have proven that iron deficiency in infants and young children might affect the growth and development. Both breast milk and formula contain iron, but when the baby starts to eat solid food, the demand for iron will gradually increase. The faster the baby grows and develops, the more iron is needed, and the more likely it is to have iron deficiency. Studies have shown that normal full-term babies have an iron storage of 280 mg at birth, but this only meets the iron the baby needs 4-6 months after birth. The baby's iron requirement in 6 months is 0.3 mg / day, and will increase directly to 10 mg / day after 6 months. It is important for your baby to get a good source of iron from food. Good sources include meat puree, iron fortified grains and lentils, lentils, kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans. If your baby does not eat enough iron-rich foods, your baby's doctor may suggest iron supplementation. In addition, for premature infants, twins, multiple births are more likely to have anemia and usually have more needs to supplement iron.
Vitamin D –
Only a small amount of vitamin D will be transferred to breast milk. That's why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends that you give your breast-fed baby supplement 400 IU of vitamin D daily from birth. Infants who are exclusively breastfed or partially formula-fed but drink less than 32 ounces of formula per day also need to replenish 400 IU of vitamin D daily. Our bodies produce vitamin D after the skin is exposed to sunshine. In general, babies within 6 months should not be exposed to sunlight directly. Because baby's skin is very delicate; when expose to the sun improperly, it is easy to cause skin burns. Meanwhile, if the sun directly hit baby's eyes, it is also easy to cause cataracts, the risk is high. Sunscreens could help keep your baby safe in the sun, but it also blocks the rays that enable the body to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential in helping the body absorb and use calcium; in fact, the body cannot absorb calcium at all without some vitamin D. As a result, in order to make the child's bones growth, Vitamin D deficiency cannot be overlooked.
Vitamin B12 –
Vitamin B12 is critical for the development of the nervous system. This vitamin is naturally found in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products. If you are breastfeeding and you don't eat much (or any) animal protein, it's important to have a regular and reliable source of vitamin B12 – whether it's from a supplement or fortified foods – so your baby's diet will contain adequate amounts of the vitamin B12.
DHA is an omega-3s fatty acid that is important for babies. 6 months to 2 years old is the fastest growing age of your baby. DHA can help your baby's developmental needs. In addition, the baby's intake of appropriate amount of DHA can affect his ability to respond and observe, which can promote his hand-eye coordination ability. The content of DHA in the diet of the breastfeeding mothers is shown proportionally in her breast milk. In short, if your DHA intake is low, your breast milk levels will be low. Breastfeeding mothers who do not consume DHA from food sources – especially vegans and vegetarians – may need to consider taking DHA supplements. According to some researches, vegans and vegetarians’ moms and their babies have lower levels of DHA in their blood than those who eat meat.
At every stage of women's lives, well-balanced nutrition and regular exercise are the cornerstones of good health and optimal energy. But certain vitamins and minerals become especially important at particular times of life. From youth to the childbearing years and into senior years, each life stage may require different nutrients to help women’s body get what it needs for optimal wellness.
1. Nutrition for Girls in Childhood and Early Teens –
Growing girls should eat more natural foods rich in various nutrients, including a diet abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean sources of protein, in order to lay a solid foundation for their health in the future. In addition, girls should keep being active, while reducing the intake of high-calorie foods. Establishing good eating habits from the early stages of life would be beneficial for a lifetime. Two nutrients are particularly important for this stage:
Calcium : Getting enough calcium is important for all ages, but it is especially important during adolescence and early adulthood, when bones are absorbing calcium. The more calcium you get, the stronger your bones will be. Calcium helps maintain the healthy development of bones and teeth, and also helps the blood maintain normal clotting. In particular, pairing with vitamin D3 could enhance calcium absorption. Natural sources of calcium, such as low-fat dairy products, are the smartest choice for calcium supplementation because they also contain vitamin D and protein, both of which are required for calcium absorption.
Iron : Iron is important for young women, as menstruation is one of the ways this mineral is depleted from the body. Symptoms of low iron include fatigue, and poor performance at school or work. Red meat without fat provides animal iron that is easily absorbed by the body. Proper iron supplementation helps the formation of normal red blood cells. Iron is also an important component of heme and myoglobin and contributes to the delivery and utilization of oxygen.
2. Nutrition for Women During Childbearing Years –
Adult women often juggle between multiple roles, and are often overwhelmed between job and parenthood. On one hand, women at this age use up a lot of energy and strength; on the other hand, they often have no time to eat well-balanced. Over years, many women suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Several nutrients are particularly important for women during adulthood, especially for pregnant women:
Folic Acid : If you want to get pregnant, it is wise to increase folic acid intake before pregnancy. There is evidence that taking folic acid before pregnancy and the first trimester into pregnancy is beneficial to the healthy development of the brain of the fetus. Some doctors recommended that women take folic acid supplements during pregnancy to ensure they reach the recommended 400 to 800 micrograms.
Vitamin B12 : Lacking of vitamin B12 may cause anemia and fatigue. B12 is essential for healthy nervous system development and function. Pregnant women who are vegans or vegetarians may be deficient in B12, since it is present in animal protein and to a lesser extent in dairy. B12 supplementation is usually recommended during pregnancy because during pregnancy, the body's demand is gradually increasing.
Choline : Choline is an important nutrient for women's health in their lifetime, especially during pregnancy. Choline is also beneficial for early fetal development.
Omega-3s : EPA and DHA play many roles in the body. Even women who don’t plan to have children should be sure to get plenty of amount of Omega-3s.
Vitamin D : Vitamin D promotes the release of bone calcium to maintain blood calcium balance. It also helps to maintain the normal physiology of nerves and muscles.
Calcium : Getting enough calcium in adulthood is still important for women. To protect bone calcium, we must pay careful attention to "calcium supplementation", "sun exposure" and "sports". Adult women in their childbearing years should aim for between 1,000 mg and 1,300 mg of calcium a day. Calcium is also important for fetal development.
1. 為什麼寶寶需要補充維生素 D?
新生兒通常很少會被帶出去曬太陽，補充維生素 D 只能仰賴母乳或額外補充。如果媽媽提升了自己體內的維生素 D，經由母乳喂養的嬰兒將受惠，透過母乳獲得更高的維生素 D。配方奶在設計的時候也有添加少量的維生素 D。但為了避免嬰兒缺乏維生素 D，有兩點需要注意：首先，哺乳媽媽必須自己補充足夠的維生素 D；其次，如果媽媽的維生素 D 較低或配方奶食用量不夠，則考慮給予嬰兒額外的維生素 D 補充劑。
2. 母乳中含維生素 D 嗎? 而維生素 D 的建議量？
對於寶寶來說，由於飲食單一，食量小和較少的陽光照射，食用補充劑以達到推薦的維生素 D 攝入量是必要的。母乳中維生素 D 含量平均為 22 IU/L (15-50 IU/L)，以嬰兒平均一天吃奶量 750ML 計算，純哺乳嬰兒經由母奶可攝取到之維生素 D 約 11-38 IU/DAY，遠低於一般建議攝取量 400 IU/DAY，因此全母乳與半母乳哺餵或是對配方奶、副食品適應不良的嬰幼兒普遍都可能有維生素 D 不足問題。台灣兒科醫學會建議純母乳哺育或部分母乳哺育的寶寶，從新生兒開始每天給予 400 IU 維生素 D。此外，使用配方奶的兒童，如果每日進食少於 1,000 毫升加強維生素 D 的配方奶或奶粉，需要每天給予 400 IU 維生素 D。美國小兒科醫學會 (AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS, AAP) 在 2008 年則是建議所有嬰兒從出生開始每日補充 400 IU，比起過去建議劑量增加一倍，以確保滿足嬰幼兒每日所需。
3. 寶寶的維生素 D 補充要吃到幾歲？
美國兒科學會 (AAP) 建議：母乳喂養和部分母乳喂養的嬰兒，從出生後幾天開始，每天建議持續補充 400 IU 的維生素 D。
4. 添加副食品後，還吃維生素 D 嗎？
寶寶滿 6 個月後，開始嘗試各種輔食，是否還需要補充維生素 D？答案是 “要”。除了肝臟，蛋類和海魚外，天然食物含有較少的維生素 D。然而，肝臟、蛋類和海魚中的維生素 D 含量實際上也不高。一個蛋黃約有 40 IU 的維生素 D，吃 10 個蛋黃才有 400 IU 的量。因此，寶寶添加副食品不影響正常補充維生素 D。
5. 能否曬太陽來補足維生素 D？
雖然裸露的皮膚被太陽直射能合成維生素 D ，但有幾個問題：首先，美國兒科學會（AAP）建議 6 個月內的嬰兒不應直接暴露在陽光下。因為寶寶的皮膚非常嬌嫩；當不適當地暴露在陽光下時，很容易引起皮膚灼傷。同時，如果太陽直射寶寶的眼睛，也容易引起寶寶眼部的傷害，風險很高。6 個月以上，需要注意防曬，如避免強烈的紫外線，塗抹防曬霜，穿長袖長褲，戴寬邊沿帽子。其次，從太陽獲得的維生素 D 的量難以控制，防曬措施、空氣污染、日照強度等因素也都會影響效果。因此，雖然寶寶進行適當戶外活動有其必要，但不建議依靠陽光來補充維生素 D，以免造成維生素 D 不足。
6. 如何挑選市場上常見的維生素 D ？
液態類的維生素 D 產品最適合嬰幼兒。液態類產品使用很方便，可以滴在媽媽乳頭、安撫奶嘴上，或是湯匙上，滴在配方奶和副食品中也行。但配方的選擇上，需使用容易保存的油脂，部分配方選用橄欖油。但在亞熱帶地區的國家，此種基底油脂的配方容易氧化，產生油耗味，品質大受影響。而橄欖油的黏度高，也容易導致不容易從滴頭流出，使用上較為麻煩。
另一常見的基底油是椰子油，穩定性比橄欖油佳，且因為廉價，被廣泛使用。但椰子油主要成分為月桂酸，占比 50% 以上，且屬於長鏈脂肪酸，吸收較不易。最頂級的基底油則是中鏈三酸甘油脂 (MCT)，MCT 油是椰子油經過高度純化後的油脂成分，已經去除月桂酸及其它不純油脂。中鏈三酸甘油脂 (MCT) 擁有高穩定性，吸收度高，流動性佳，不易氧化、保存容易的優點，是高品質液態維生素 D3 首選的油脂配方。