Pregnant woman are not getting enough vitamin D, according to new research.
While taking prenatal vitamins does raise vitamin D levels in mothers-to-be, the study suggested higher doses are needed for many women.
Study author Professor Adit Ginde, from the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, said: 'We already know vitamin D is important for bone health of the mother and infant, but we are just starting to scratch the surface about the many potential health benefits of vitamin D during pregnancy.'
The study, to be published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found 70 per cent of pregnant women in the U.S had insufficient levels of Vitamin D.
Women with darker skin, those who cover their skin for religious or cultural reasons and those living further north during winter months are at particularly high risk for lower vitamin D levels.
'Prenatal vitamins do help raise vitamin D levels, but many women start taking them after becoming pregnant. Although research is ongoing, I think it's best for women to start a few months before becoming pregnant to maximize the likely health benefits,' said Professor Ginde.
There is a growing body of evidence that vitamin D levels have fallen below what's considered healthy in the overall population - likely from decreased outdoor activity.
And vitamin D has reemerged as an important nutritional factor in maternal and infant health. Vitamin D deficiency early in life has been linked to increased risk of respiratory infections and childhood wheezing.
Lower levels in adults have been linked to cardiovascular disease and specific types of cancer.
Article: 12th May 2010 www.dailymail.co.uk
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