Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vitamin D Deficiency Widespread During Pregnancy

Date:
March 10, 2007
Source:
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Summary:
Even regular use of prenatal multivitamin supplements is not adequate to prevent vitamin D insufficiency, a condition that is linked to rickets and other musculoskeletal and health complications and found to be widespread among women during pregnancy, particularly in the northern latitudes, University of Pittsburgh researchers report in the current issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the publication of the American Society for Nutrition.

Even regular use of prenatal multivitamin supplements is not adequate to prevent vitamin D insufficiency, University of Pittsburgh researchers report in the current issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the publication of the American Society for Nutrition. A condition linked to rickets and other musculoskeletal and health complications, vitamin D insufficiency was found to be widespread among women during pregnancy, particularly in the northern latitudes.

"In our study, more than 80 percent of African-American women and nearly half of white women tested at delivery had levels of vitamin D that were too low, even though more than 90 percent of them used prenatal vitamins during pregnancy," said Lisa Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) and lead author of the study. "The numbers also were striking for their newborns -- 92.4 percent of African-American babies and 66.1 percent of white infants were found to have insufficient vitamin D at birth."

A vitamin closely associated with bone health, vitamin D deficiency early in life is associated with rickets -- a disorder characterized by soft bones and thought to have been eradicated in the United States more than 50 years ago -- as well as increased risk for type 1 diabetes, asthma and schizophrenia.

"A newborn's vitamin D stores are completely reliant on vitamin D from the mother," observed Dr. Bodnar, who also is an assistant investigator at the university-affiliated Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI). "Not surprisingly, poor maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy is a major risk factor for infant rickets, which again is becoming a major health problem."

For their study, Dr. Bodnar and her colleagues evaluated data that was collected on 200 black women and 200 white women who were randomly selected from more than 2,200 women enrolled in the MWRI's Pregnancy Exposures and Preeclampsia Prevention Study between 1997 and 2001. Samples of maternal blood were collected prior to 22 weeks pregnancy and again just before delivery, Samples of newborn umbilical cord blood also were tested for 25 hydroxyvitamin D, an indicator of vitamin D status. Finding such a proliferation of vitamin D insufficiency in spite of prenatal multivitamin use is troubling, she noted, suggesting that higher dosages, differing vitamin formulations or a moderate increase in sunlight exposure might be necessary to boost vitamin D stores to healthier levels.

"In both groups, vitamin D concentrations were highest in summer and lowest in winter and spring," said senior author James M. Roberts, M.D., MWRI director and professor and vice chair of research in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "But differences were smaller between seasons for African-American mothers and babies, whose vitamin D deficiency remained more constant."

Since vitamin D is made by the body in reaction to sunlight exposure, it has long been known that vitamin D deficiency is more common among darker-skinned individuals, particularly in more northern latitudes, where less ultraviolet radiation reaches the Earth. Indeed, vitamin D deficiency is more than three times as common in winter than in summer for all women of childbearing age in the United States. Even so, the Pittsburgh researchers' study is cause for concern.

"This study is among the largest to examine these questions in this at-risk population," Marjorie L. McCullough, Sc.D., senior epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, wrote in an accompanying editorial. "By the end of pregnancy, 90 percent of all women were taking prenatal vitamins and yet deficiency was still common."

Vitamin D is found naturally in fatty fish but few other foods. Primary dietary sources include fortified foods such as milk and some ready-to-eat cereals and vitamin supplements. Sun exposure for skin synthesis of vitamin D also remains critical.

"Our study shows that current vitamin D dietary intake recommendations are not enough to meet the demands of pregnancy," Dr. Bodnar said. "Improving vitamin D status has tremendous capacity to benefit public health."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Vitamin D Deficiency Widespread During Pregnancy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070227105140.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. (2007, March 10). Vitamin D Deficiency Widespread During Pregnancy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070227105140.htm
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Vitamin D Deficiency Widespread During Pregnancy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070227105140.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins