Women who diet and exercise while breast-feeding their baby can do so as long as they continue to eat nutritious food and take a vitamin supplement. According to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, doing so ensures the proper levels of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 aids in metabolism and in the regeneration of chemicals in the brain that may play a role in depression in the mother. Low levels of B6 in infants can adversely affect the growth and/or the mental development of the infant.
In the study, 11 women who were diagnosed as obese were instructed to restrict their diets by 500 calories per day and to exercise for 45 minutes, 4 days a week. The women also took a vitamin supplement each day that contained 2 milligrams (mg) of the vitamin B6. These women were compared with another group of 11 women who were also obese and taking the same B6 supplement. However, these women did not diet or exercise. On average, the women in the dieting group lost about one pound per week. Both groups of women maintained healthy levels of B6, Lovelady reports.
The researchers suggest that if women are not eating a diet that contains a lot of B6, especially if they are dieting and exercising, they should consider taking a vitamin supplement with the recommended daily allowance of 2 mg per day. Foods rich in vitamin B6 include fortified cereals, soybeans, wheat germ, tuna, salmon and gland meats such as liver.
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