Is Vitamin D Important During Pregnancy and Beyond?

Healthy 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Status May Be Critical for Baby Health

News about Vitamin D has been spreading fast over the last decade.

Researchers have found that Vitamin D has influence on every tissue in the body, including over 200 genes. 

Recently, some researchers have criticized some health professionals from recommending too much of the sunshine vitamin.

For instance, the Institute of Medicine recently published a report on Vitamin D, and despite criticizing mega-dosing with the supplement, it still raised its recommendation that the Recommended Daily Allowance be raised to 600-800IU from its previous level of 400IU. 

400IU of Vitamin D3 was known to be beneficial at preventing rickets in young children. Rickets is a disorder characterized by the softening of bones and musculoskeletal deformities. Interestingly, the Institute of Medicine report focused primarily on the intake of Vitamin D needed to promote bone health and development.

Needs for other health benefits may be higher, particularly for at-risk populations, and special populations such as pregnant and/or breastfeeding women.

Vitamin D is now known to do much more than support healthy bone growth.

Vitamin D During Pregnancy may be especially important. The growing fetus depends exclusively on the mother for Vitamin D. The problem is that many unexpectant mothers are Vitamin D deficient as it is, and a significant percentage of pregnancies are unplanned.

Once pregnant, their needs for Vitamin D may increase to 4000IU per day or more as some researchers suggest.

Vitamin D has been connected with positive pregnancy outcomes. Those with sufficient status may have lower rates of preecclamspia, gestational diabetes, cesarean section births, and lower incidence of infections.

It is also a potent modulator of the immune system, helping the body produce immune cells needed to protect itself from foreign invaders.

Infants with sufficient vitamin levels have been linked with lower rates of asthma, respiratory infections and food allergies.  They may also have lower rates of cancer, type I and type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease later in life.

Vitamin D may also promote gut health, potentially working with healthy gut bacteria to stimulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Vitamin D is best obtained from the sun, but concerns of skin cancer and melanoma keep many covered in extra clothing and sunscreens containing potentially cancerous chemicals.

Women with darker skin, and who live in northern latitudes north of Florida are at higher risk for Vitamin D deficiency. Most wellness professionals are able to order a lab test to see if your levels are sufficient.

Have you had your Vitamin D levels checked recently?