Thumbs Up For Vitamin D During Pregnancy

Vitamin D in very high doses appears to be safe for pregnant women

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Proper prenatal care is essential for both a mother and her unborn child. Little research has been done to determine the proper amount of vitamin D supplements to take, until now.

A research team from South Carolina has found that even high amounts of vitamin D supplementation remains safe for healthy pregnant women and their unborn children.

"Ask your OB/GYN about vitamin D supplements."

Bruce Hollis, M.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston explains that vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy is somewhat controversial due to erroneous information regarding harmful effects of vitamin D on the fetus. There is little research progress in this area since Dr. Gilbert Forbes made his recommendation in 1963 of 200 international units (IU) based on a hunch.

While the threat of vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy has remained a bit of a mystery, it has been known for quite a while that the vitamin plays a solid role in homeostasis, the body's internal regulation, during pregnancy and that a deficiency can effect immune, pancreatic and cardiovascular systems of the mother.

The research team used a randomized controlled trial with healthy expectant mothers to discover how varying dosages of daily supplements could safely sustain a circulating vitamin D level of at least 32 nanograms per milliliter.

The researchers monitored the pregnancies of 350 women, from varied ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, who were all between 12 and 16 weeks into their pregnancies. The women were randomly assigned to one of three groups; the first group received 400 IU of vitamin D per day, the second group received 2,000 IU per day and the third received 4,000 IU daily.

"In our study subjects, a daily dosage of up to 4,000 IU of vitamin D was required to sustain normal metabolism in pregnant women," concluded Dr Hollis. "Furthermore, following decades of speculation into its safety our research has demonstrated vitamin D supplementation to be both safe and effective."

This study is published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 28, 2011
Last Updated:
July 3, 2011