Vitamin D supplements – should you be taking them?

A new UK survey by the makers of vitamin-rich cereal bars nutrimum, reveals that most pregnant and breast feeding women know that they need to supplement with folic acid during pregnancy, but as many as two thirds don’t realize they should take additional vitamin D whilst breastfeeding.

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This is despite Department of Health guidelines which recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding women should take vitamin D supplements to ensure they are getting 10 micrograms per day.

At the same time, a report issued this week by an independent government advisory group, reinforced the importance of vitamin D supplementation in the UK, where it is extremely difficult to get recommended amounts due to the lack of sunshine. Indeed, it recommended that the guidelines on vitamin D supplementation be expanded beyond at risk groups to include everyone in the UK – even babies of one year old. The group made the recommendations after studying the links between vitamin D levels and a range of health problems, including musculoskeletal health, heart disease, type 1 diabetes, cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Lucy Jones, consultant dietitian and nutritionist said: “The government push on folic acid during conception and pregnancy seems to have raised awareness but more education is needed in supplementing during breastfeeding as well as pregnancy. Vitamin D is essential to build strong teeth and bones in mum and baby and its deficiency can cause rickets and heart disease in babies.”

Clemmie Hooper, a midwife, comments: “With so many misconceptions in pregnancy and breastfeeding, mums often feel bombarded with information about what they can’t do and can’t eat, rather than what they can. It’s important we support mums by giving them the information and the tools to provide themselves and their babies with the best possible start.”

About your essential nutrients

  • Folic acid is important before pregnancy and in the first trimester to help prevent neural tube defects,17, 9 and is recommended by the Department of Health (DH) for all women during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy
  • Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones through normal calcium and phosphorous absorption. The DH recommends that pregnant women should supplement with vitamin D
  • Iron helps to support normal blood formation and contributes to the normal function of the immune system
  • Iodine contributes to normal cognitive function, and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, to babies’ brain development
  • Omega 3 (DHA) contributes to babies’ brain and eye development, and to maintenance of normal brain function


Nutrimum cereal bars are the only ‘non-pill’ food supplements, which provide the recommended daily amounts of vitamin directly to pregnant and breastfeeding women. One nutrimum bar per day provides 100% RDI of folic acid and vitamin D during pregnancy and 100% RDI of vitamin D during breastfeeding, as well as other key nutrients such as iron, omega 3 (DHA) and iodine.

For more information on nutrimum visit


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