Can I take vitamins and supplements while I am on a TED?
Most choose not to in the initial elimination period as they tend to have many ingredients that can make it harder to identify any potential triggers. Though due to the limited nature of few food diets it can be important to prioritise nutritionally dense trials, which can include vitamins and food supplements, to aid healing and support mother and baby. For a list of supplements our mamas’ have found to be safe please see our group files, though do remember one persons safe is another persons trigger.
Do I need to give my baby vitamin D and Iron?
Research shows that maternal vitamin D supplementation can increase the amount in her breastmilk adequately, so she doesn’t need to give vitamin D directly. This is not reflected in guidelines internationally which increasingly recommends direct supplementation of newborns. I’m unaware of any long term studies identifying if this has any impact on gut health and microbial diversity, which is possible as breastmilk exclusively is the ideal source of nutrition for infants.
For more information on Vitamin D see our Vitamin D post.
Iron is generally recommended for babies over 6 months as their iron stores from birth can begin to be depleted by then. Though some believe this is a worst case scenario, under ideal conditions, including delayed cord clamping, infants iron stores shouldn’t begin to deplete until 9-12months. Some say breastmilk doesn’t contain iron which is not accurate, it does contain iron. The iron in breastmilk is also tremendously bio-available compared to other forms, which is part of why formula contains much higher amounts, to account for the difference in bioavailability. This doesn’t mean breastmilk is a poor source, breastmilk is the biologically optimal form. High iron, especially from iron supplements, is related to intestinal bleeding as it is not easily absorbed and can irritate the gut. Introducing iron rich foods like meat as an early solid can help. Blackstrap molasses is a good non-animal iron food source.
Allergic colitis is a risk factor for lower iron levels. For those who want to supplement, it can be important to get a test first to ensure there is a genuine deficiency so it is not needlessly supplemented. Many mamas who do supplement due to deficit use Spatone(R) iron water as it is a highly bioavailable form and is gentler on the gut than most prescription forms. Vitamin C is also essential for iron absorption and certain fruit juices like red grape are known to inhibit absorption.
Why do people use probiotics?
Some believe their little ones symptoms are directly related to antibiotic use, poor microbial diversity or microbial over growths like candida, h.pylori and C.diff. Since there is an increasing amount of research in the area, this can be a logical assumption for many. Current research shows strains like L. Rhamnosus and some Bifido strains have mast cell and histamine stabilising – allergy reducing – properties. L. Reuteri has also been linked to improved colic and reduced risk of ASD.
What is die off?
Die-off, also known as a Herxheimer reaction, is when taking a probiotic essentially kills off less beneficial microbes, as microbes die they can release toxins that cause reaction symptoms. To minimise this risk, and any potential reaction, it is important to start very gradually with microbially rich foods and supplements. The inflammation that can result from die off is still not beneficial over all regardless of the long term benefits; so if a die off reaction is suspected it can be worth reducing or spreading out doses over several days to minimise inflammation and die off symptoms.
Will taking digestive enzymes help?
Some find it does, some react to them. Long term use of digestive enzymes is not ideal. For more information on digestive enzymes and how to support our bodies natural digestion please see our Liver health 101 post.
Jack Newman on Vitamin D and Iron supplementation: