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Pregnant women vitamin D warning

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Vitamin supplements designed for pregnant women may still not be providing them with sufficient vitamin D, research from the Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health suggests.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to rickets and lower bone density in children and the Food Standards Agency recommends that pregnant women take a daily dose of 10 micrograms of the vitamin

But the researchers found that out of a sample of expectant mothers living in Northern Ireland, 96 per cent had insufficient levels of vitamin D in their blood when tested between week 12 and 20 of their pregnancy.

During the third trimester, at 35 weeks, 75 per cent had insufficient levels of the vitamin and 16 per cent of women could be technically described as “deficient”.

Researcher Dr Valerie Holmes said the percentage of women with insufficient levels was “remarkable”.

The main source of Vitamin D is synthesis following exposure to sunlight and Dr Holmes said Northern Ireland’s northern latitude made the issue of dietary intake of vitamin D even more important.

“While vitamin D status was improved in women who reported taking multivitamin supplements, many still had insufficient levels, suggesting that the amount present in multivitamins formulated for pregnancy may be too low to maintain adequate levels,” she said.

“Stores of vitamin D in the newborn baby depend on the mother’s levels during pregnancy and where deficiency is severe there is an increased risk of rickets.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Edward Hutchinson

    Bear in mind when reading this report the researchers used
    12·5 nmol/l as severe deficiency
    25 nmol/l as deficiency
    50 nmol/l as insufficiency
    As
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19594303
    Bone Mineralization Defects and Vitamin D Deficiency:
    Our data demonstrate that pathologic mineralization defects of bone occur in patients with a serum 25-[OH]-D below 75nmol/l and strongly argue that in conjunction with a sufficient calcium intake the dose of vitamin D supplementation should ensure that circulating levels of 25-[OH]-D reach this minimum threshold (75nmol/l or 30ng/ml) to maintain skeletal health.
    any level below 75nmol/l should be regarded as deficient.

    Breastfeeding Medicine
    Does Vitamin D Make the World Go ‘Round’?
    http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/bfm.2008.9984
    Reports on the level at which human breast milk flows replete with vitamin D as this is the same level at which peak muscle performance is attained and least chronic illness is found it is a pity that natural biomarkers of vitamin D sufficiency are no used.
    When more than 50% of the population are obese will we regard the then NORMAL BMI of 30 as acceptable or is the aim of medicine to aim for least disease incidence?
    We need effective amounts of Vitamin D3 intake daily to correct current insufficiency status. 5000iu/daily is probably sufficient in the UK to raise status above 125nmol/l 50ng/ml thereby ensuring we have a small reserve of D3 stored in muscle/fat tissue.
    Vieth explains in
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19364661
    Vitamin D and cancer mini-symposium: the risk of additional vitamin D.
    Evidence from clinical trials shows, with a wide margin of confidence, that a prolonged intake of 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D(3) poses no risk of adverse effects for adults.
    Approximately 1000iu for each 25lbs weight is a useful rule of thumb for vitamin d requirement.

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