Vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women

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Pregnant women often have a vitamin D deficiency

In Germany, pregnant women and their unborn children are usually not adequately supplied with vitamin D. A British study shows that deficits do not only occur in winter.

Sunlight essential for vitamin D supply A renewed bad weather period as Germany is currently experiencing also reduces the possibility of getting enough vitamin D (“”), because sunlight is essentially responsible for this. However, the weather is not the only reason why many pregnant women and their unborn children in Germany are insufficiently supplied with vitamin D. A cross-sectional study in the "British Journal of Nutrition" (2013; doi: 10.1017 / S0007114513001438) documents deficits not only in the winter months. With many mothers and their children, a deficiency can also be found in summer. Sunlight is also so important here because most foods consumed in Germany contain too little vitamin D. A lot of the vitamin can be found in cod liver oil, salmon, eel, sardines, chicken eggs and mushrooms. ("") Vitamin D, the sun hormone, is not only absorbed through food, but is also formed on our skin by exposure to the sun. However, their intensity in Germany from October to March is usually too low for sufficient vitamin D formation.

Lack of physical activity as a risk factor In the winter months, the 25 (OH) vitamin D values ​​(to determine the body's vitamin D content) were below 50 nmol / l in 98 percent of pregnant women, which was regarded as the threshold for adequate care become. However, even in the summer months, 49 percent of them were still under-supplied. The children are also affected. The team led by Clemens Kunz from the Institute of Nutritional Science at the University of Gießen was also able to determine the concentration in the umbilical cord blood and came to the conclusion that 94 percent of the children were undersupplied in the winter months and 35 percent in the summer months. The most important risk factors for a vitamin deficit were lack of physical activity and the origin from a non-European country. Sport should be a marker for spending time outdoors and a dark skin color stands for the reduced vitamin synthesis in the skin. Adequate vitamin D supply is particularly important for mother and child, because according to Kunz a deficiency increases the risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, gestosis and premature birth. Vitamin D deficiency could also lead to new bone disorders, lung diseases and diabetes mellitus in the newborn.

Too high vitamin D intake in pregnancy no problem? In Germany, infants have been substituted with vitamin D for a long time as part of rickets prophylaxis. According to the study, Kunz believes that pregnant women should also take vitamin D. Since the package insert of vitamin D tablets often warns of an excessive intake during pregnancy, women often stay away from it. According to the expert, this is misinformation. The substituted vitamin D, whether in tablet form or via the UV light in the skin, is initially inactive and there is hardly any fear of an overdose. The active form is only produced in the kidney. Prof. Kunz explained that the synthesis there, however, is based on need and that too much vitamin D is ingested in the body and excreted again. However, there are also opinions that say that dangerous overdoses can occur, such as that an acute or chronic vitamin D overdose can lead to vitamin D hypervitaminosis. Or that in infants with a small genetic defect, vitamin D prophylaxis could lead to a life-threatening increase in the calcium concentration in the blood. As part of an observational study in Gießen, pregnant women are now to be checked whether, after a medically diagnosed vitamin D deficiency, the intake of 1,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D daily throughout pregnancy is sufficient to ensure the desired care. (sb)

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