Take a vitamin D supplement during pregnancy
By Randall Neustaedter OMD
A study published in the March 2012 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Association of Pediatrics, has shown again how important vitamin D3 supplementation is during pregnancy. This study measured the vitamin D level of pregnant women and then observed language development in their children at different ages (2, 5, 8, 10, 14, and 17 years of age).
The study found that women who had a vitamin D level less than 46 nmol/L during pregnancy were at least twice as likely to have children with language difficulties at ages 5 and 10 years compared to women with a vitamin D level of 70 nmol/L or higher.
This finding is especially interesting because most labs place the normal limit of serum 25(OH)-vitamin D in the 30 range, rather than the 70 range. Many vitamin D experts have said that a range of 60 to 100 is ideal, and this study suggests that at least during pregnancy these higher levels of vitamin D are ideal. In order to achieve these levels pregnant women need to take a significantly higher level of vitamin D3 than is found in most prenatal or calcium supplements. A supplement in the range of 5,000 to 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily is usually required to raise serum vitamin D levels to these levels.
Vitamin D taken during pregnancy has shown other benefits for later childhood as well. Several studies have shown that higher vitamin D levels during pregnancy are associated with less respiratory problems during childhood. A study published in January 2011 in Pediatrics showed that newborns with a higher cord blood level of vitamin D had less respiratory infections during infancy and less asthma during early childhood. Four previous studies showed that vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy was associated with less asthma during childhood as well.
Pregnant women should take a high quality prenatal vitamin/mineral supplement that contains folate. In addition during pregnancy it is important to take vitamin D, an omega-3 fatty acid supplement with DHA, and probiotics, all of which have proven to have positive health benefits for babies.
Whitehouse, AJO, et al. Maternal Serum Vitamin D Levels During Pregnancy and Offspring Neurocognitive Development. Pediatrics 2012; 129:3 485-493; published ahead of print February 13, 2012, doi:10.1542/peds.2011-2644About the author:
Dr. Randall Neustaedter, OMD, has practiced and taught holistic medicine for more than thirty years in the San Francisco Bay area, specializing in child health care. He is a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Chinese medicine, author of The Holistic Baby Guide, Child Health Guide and The Vaccine Guide. Visit his website, http://www.cure-guide.com
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