If you know anyone who is pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant, or who has an infant, I know of the perfect gift for them.
Professors Carol Wagner and Bruce Hollis of the Medical University of South Carolina have written a wonderful book that any couple who fits the above criteria needs to read and read well. The book, available at New Insights into Vitamin D, summarizes the research on vitamin D and pregnancy, lactation and early childhood into a short, easy-to-read book written for the lay person, but complete enough for the scientist.
The book covers the history of vitamin D, the metabolism and physiology of the vitamin, vitamin D’s benefits, the definition of vitamin D deficiency, and in the final three chapters, the information about vitamin D requirements in pregnancy, lactation, and early infancy.
The book begins by saying, “Vitamin D is the substrate precursor to one of the most powerful hormones in the body, which has profound effects on metabolism and immune function.” They quickly give a history of vitamin D and also the history of rickets, which has become both common but unrecognized.
The authors then give the history of vitamin D toxicity and the details of how and why physicians became afraid of physiological doses of vitamin D. The authors’ explanation completes for children what Professor Reinhold Vieth did for adults: explain and dispel the myths concerning vitamin D toxicity. As Dr. Vieth once said, “Worrying about vitamin D toxicity is like worrying about drowning when you are dying of thirst.”
Chapter 8 is entitled, “In search of the holy grail,” and points out the profound effects vitamin D has on the immune system, activating one kind of immune cell (the macrophage) to attack foreign invaders, while inducing anti-inflammatory activities of another immune cell, the lymphocyte. They could have added more information about the T regulatory cell, the lymphocytes out of sync in autoimmune illness and the profound effect vitamin D has on putting T regulatory cells back in sync with the body’s need to differentiate between self and not-self.
Their definition of vitamin D deficiency, in the next chapter, is one readers will recognize. They also support the idea that “Natural” levels should be used to define deficiency.
The book ends with three excellent chapters on what pregnant, breastfeeding, and moms with infants should do now, based on what is known now.
Again, this is the perfect gift for couples in any stage of pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is also a great read for anyone interested in vitamin D.