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Food Nutr Bull. 2002 Sep;23(3):244-7.

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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College of Medicine and Public Health Technology, Bab-Al Mudam, Baghdad, Iraq.


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.

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