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Pregnant women need tailored vitamin D supplements

Friday October 28th, 2016

Vitamin D supplements are not always effective for pregnant women, a study that was published last night has shown.

Researchers at the University of Southampton, England, which is working on the Maternal Vitamin D Osteoporosis Study (MAVIDOS) study, said pregnant women respond differently to vitamin D supplements depending on their individual attributes.

They found that the supplements are less effective at raising vitamin D levels if the women give birth in winter, have low levels of vitamin D early in their pregnancy or if gain more weight during pregnancy.

Writing in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Professor Nicholas Harvey, of the Medical Research Council lifecourse epidemiology unit, University of Southampton, who led the study with Dr Rebecca Moon, clinical research fellow, said their discovery suggests that supplement levels should be tailored according to individual risk factors.

“It is important for pregnant women to have sufficient levels of vitamin D for the health of their baby,” he said.

“Our study findings suggest that in order to optimise vitamin D concentrations through pregnancy, the supplemental dose given may need to be tailored to a woman's individual circumstances, such as the anticipated season of delivery.”

MAVIDOS – a multi-centre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy – involved more than 800 pregnant women who were randomly selected to take either 1,000 units (25 micrograms) of vitamin D every day or a matched placebo capsule from 14 weeks gestation until their baby was delivered.

The study showed that women who received the vitamin D supplement achieved different levels of vitamin D in the blood, even though they received the same dose. Women who gave birth in summer, who gained less weight during pregnancy and who had higher vitamin D levels early in pregnancy tended to have higher levels of vitamin D in the blood than their counterparts.

Women who consistently took the supplement also had higher levels of vitamin D than participants who did not.

Determinants of the Maternal 25-hydroxyvitamin D Response to Vitamin D Supplementation During Pregnancy. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 27 October 2016; doi: 10.1210/jc.2016-2869

Tags: Alternative Therapy | Childbirth and Pregnancy | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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