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Open Access Effect of maternal dietary vitamin C intake on the level of vitamin C in breastmilk among nursing mothers in Baghdad, Iraq

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The vitamin C content of breastmilk was investigated in a group of nursing mothers attending maternal and child health centers in Baghdad during 1998–2000. Two hundred healthy, nonsmoking, 28- to 38-year-old lactating women were studied. Individual samples of breastmilk were obtained for estimation of vitamin C. Dietary data were collected by using 24-hour food recalls. The mean intake of vitamin C was far below the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization requirement of 26 ± 2.13 (SD) mg/day). The vitamin C content of breastmilk was significantly correlated with the maternal intake of vitamin C (r = 0.61, p < .01). The vitamin C content of breastmilk varied with the season. The level was much higher in summer (3.9 ± 1.05 mg/100 ml) than in winter (3.02 ± 2.01 mg/100 ml; p < .05). This fluctuation indicates the dependence of breastmilk vitamin C on dietary intake. The results show the need to increase the consumption of vegetables and fruits and to monitor maternal ascorbic acid intake.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2002

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  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106
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