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Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Apr;61(4):779-86.

A longitudinal study of urinary calcium, magnesium, and zinc excretion in lactating and nonlactating postpartum women.

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Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, College Park 20742.


Postpartum lactating (n = 12) and nonlactating (n = 11) women and never pregnant women (n = 14) collected urine samples and diet records 2 d each month for 6 mo to determine whether postpartum women conserved urinary calcium, magnesium, or zinc. Mean daily excretions were analyzed by repeated-measures analysis of variance and covariance to assess group and time effects. Lactating women excreted less urinary calcium (1-6 mo) than never pregnant (n = 8) and nonlactating (n = 4) women who did not use oral contraceptives (P < 0.01); however, excretion rose (P < 0.05) by 3 mo postpartum. In the nonlactating and never pregnant groups, women using oral contraceptives excreted less urinary calcium than the other women (P < 0.01). Lactating women excreted less urinary zinc (1-6 mo) than did control and non-lactating women (P < 0.01). Mechanisms may possibly be operating during lactation that depress urinary calcium for > or = 2 mo and urinary zinc < or = 6 mo postpartum.

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