What You Should Know About Longevity Supplements While Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is one of the most remarkable experiences for women. It fosters a connection like no other between a mother and her child. A breastfeeding mother would naturally have fears concerning the safety of longevity supplements. Your worries are valid.

Key takeaways:
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    Longevity supplements, including enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, are said to promote longevity and prevent age-related diseases.
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    Not all longevity supplements are necessarily safe for use while breastfeeding.
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    Supplements like magnesium and Vitamin D are considered safe for those breastfeeding.
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    It is best to avoid supplements like DHEA, curcumin, and resveratrol while breastfeeding.

Not all longevity supplements are safe to take while breastfeeding. Some longevity supplements are unsafe because they are outrightly labeled “out of zone” for breastfeeding mothers, and others because there are not enough clinical trials to support their use while breastfeeding.

Although the safety of longevity supplements for breastfeeding mothers is generally not well documented, it doesn’t overrule the fact that some longevity-promoting supplements like Vitamin D are safe for breastfeeding women.

Should you take longevity supplements while breastfeeding?

Longevity supplements include various minerals, vitamins, and other compounds such as Vitamin D, magnesium, resveratrol, and curcumin. These supplements are said to promote longevity and prevent age-related diseases.

Not all these supplements are safe to take while breastfeeding because they can pass from mother to child through breast milk. Supplements can contain certain ingredients that may harm the baby and the mother.

For instance, some studies recommend not taking dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplements while breastfeeding. DHEA can cause higher than normal levels of androgen (a male hormone), which might harm the baby.

It is important to always discuss with your healthcare provider before taking any longevity supplement while breastfeeding.

Longevity supplements and breastfeeding

A general note to keep in mind, as suggested by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is that the efficacy and safety of many dietary supplements have not been tested in children, pregnant women, or lactating mothers. Let’s have a closer look at some of the most common longevity supplements and what to know about them while breastfeeding.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C is touted to promote good health and longevity because of its action against free radicals. It also aids the immune system in its function to protect the body from disease. Fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of Vitamin C. It is also available in different supplement forms.

The average daily recommended amount of Vitamin C for breastfeeding teens and women is 115 mg and 120 mg, respectively. Vitamin C has a wide therapeutic index, meaning that high doses of up to 2000 mg will likely not cause adverse health effects.

However, long-term intake of Vitamin C above the recommended upper levels (2000 mg for breastfeeding mothers over 19 years) may increase the risk of adverse health effects and may cause harm to you and your baby.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D — popularly known as “the sunshine vitamin", is a nutrient that occurs naturally in foods like salmon, beef liver, and egg yolks. It is also produced by your body when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D aids calcium absorption in the body supports immune function and promotes bone, heart, and muscle health. Studies show that Vitamin D may slightly reduce the risk of dying from cancer.

Vitamin D is safe to take while breastfeeding. The recommended vitamin D intake for breastfeeding women is 15 mcg (600 IU).

Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral needed for over 300 reactions in the body, including nerve and muscle function, blood sugar control, protein building, and blood pressure regulation. It plays a crucial role in disease prevention and overall health due to its multiple bodily functions. Foods that contain high levels of magnesium include spinach, cashews, bananas, and avocado.

Supplementation with magnesium has been found to have positive effects on conditions like migraine headaches and Alzheimer’s disease.

Magnesium oxide supplementation during pregnancy might delay the onset of lactation, but it can be taken during breastfeeding with no special precautions required.

During breastfeeding, 310-360 mg/day of magnesium supplements are recommended for women.

Collagen peptides

Collagen is a protein naturally found in the body. It gives tissues structural support and is vital for cellular functions like tissue repair, immune response, and cellular communication. You can get it from foods like chicken skin, egg whites, and collagen supplements.

Oral collagen supplements can contribute to reducing or delaying skin aging. They are sold as hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides. Collagen peptides are tiny pieces of animal collagen protein used for conditions like aging skin and osteoarthritis.

Collagen supplements are generally safe while breastfeeding. However, it is best to avoid their use to be on the safer side because there isn’t enough reliable information available concerning their safety and efficacy.

Curcumin

Curcumin, the main active constituent in turmeric, has been shown to possess powerful cellular protective effects due to its potent antioxidant properties. Researchers have assessed these properties, and some studies demonstrated that curcumin might help slow cellular aging and increase longevity.

Researchers conducted a study in 2021 to assess the effect of curcumin on milk production in lactating mammary epithelial cells at the molecular and cellular levels. They found that curcumin suppressed milk production.

Because there isn’t enough data, it is probably best to avoid using turmeric during breastfeeding in doses higher than those used as a food flavoring, with curcumin supplements included.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a compound found in certain plants (like berries and grapes) and red wine with antioxidant properties. Recent evidence has challenged the popular opinion that resveratrol has anti-aging properties. A study concluded that Resveratrol is not a direct activator of SIRT1 (SIRT1 activation improves lifespan and health span).

Resveratrol is relatively free of adverse health effects. However, no data on resveratrol excretion into breast milk or the efficacy and safety of resveratrol in breastfeeding mothers or infants are available. Therefore, it is best to avoid resveratrol supplements while breastfeeding.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

DHEA is a hormone produced naturally by your body in the adrenal glands. DHEA supplements are used for depression, heart disease, muscle strength, aging skin, and other conditions. There is limited scientific evidence to support the anti-aging claims of DHEA.

Don’t use DHEA if you’re breastfeeding. Apart from the lack of robust data to support its use, it can also cause serious side effects.

What to consider

  • The Food and Drug Administration does not require dietary supplements to undergo rigorous approval before marketing the products.
  • Supplements manufacturers are required to ensure that they market safe supplements. Still, they are not obliged to prove their safety and efficacy.
  • Inconsistencies are sometimes found between the labeled and actual amounts or ingredients in dietary supplements.
  • Consult with your healthcare provider before taking longevity supplements while breastfeeding.

A healthy lifestyle and diet are the best longevity hack while breastfeeding. However, you may require supplementation for various reasons. Longevity supplements like Vitamin C, D, and magnesium are generally considered safe for breastfeeding mothers while avoiding supplements like resveratrol and DHEA is best. As always, talk to your healthcare provider before adding longevity supplements to your diet plan so you can make more informed decisions.

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