Vitamin D May Reduce Risk of Preeclampsia

2009-09-03 13:09

A Norwegian study finds that vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy may reduce a mother’s risk of developing preeclampsia. Left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, a condition that can be deadly to both the pregnant woman and her infant.

According to the Preeclampsia Foundation, preeclampsia affects at least 5 to 8 percent of all pregnancies. It is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Symptoms often include sudden weight gain, headache, vision changes, nausea and vomiting, and swelling. Preeclampsia typically occurs after 20 weeks’ gestation, although it can appear earlier.

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The current study evaluated 23,423 would-be first-time mothers who participated in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. For this study, the researchers asked the women to complete a general health questionnaire at the fifteenth week and thirtieth week of pregnancy and a food frequency questionnaire at week twenty-two.

The investigators found that women who had consumed between 15 and 20 micrograms of vitamin D daily from their diet and supplements had a 24 percent lower risk of developing preeclampsia compared with women who consumed less than 5 micrograms daily. A slightly better benefit, 27 percent reduction in risk, was seen in women who took vitamin D supplements compared to women who did not take supplements.

Vitamin D is an antioxidant, and it was chosen for the study because oxidative stress has been proposed as a possible cause of preeclampsia. Other researchers have examined the possible role of the antioxidants vitamins C and E in the fight against oxidative stress in preeclampsia, but the results have been conflicting, with some studies indicating vitamin C may provide some benefit (but not vitamin E), and others showing no advantage. In the current study, however, vitamin D appears to provide some benefit.


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15~20mcg is not an effective amount of Vitamin D3 even though it reduces the risk of preeclampsia Each 100iu/daily vitamin D3 raises 25(OH)D status about 1ng/2.5nmol/l. Therefore 15mcg 600iu can only raise status 6ng or 15nmol/l In the UK the average adult woman has a level of 50nmol/l and so adding just 600iu/daily leaves her vitamin D insufficient with a level around 65nmol/l still not sufficient for proper calcium uptake from the diet. If we look at the higher amount 20mcg that's 800iu/daily/D3 that raises status 8ng/mL or 20nmol/l 50+20= 70 a bit nearer the minimum level 80nmol/l for optimum calcium uptake. While of course every inch we move in the direction of vitamin D replete status the better surely there are people with sufficient intelligence to work out that probably <a href="">the vitamin D status associated with the LEAST chronic illness</a> may be a good starting point for defining vitamin D sufficiency. How about regarding the level at which peak human muscle performance can be obtained as a natural biomarker for vitamin D adequate status? An even better biomarker for pregnant or nursing mothers is surely the level at which human breast milk flows replete with Vitamin D3. Who can disagree with that as a natural indicator of vitamin D sufficiency? Search for <a href="">DOES VITAMIN D MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND?</a> The full text of this Hollis Wagner paper on Vitamin D for the Breastfeeding Journal is online and freely downloadable. Its very detailed fully supported by current research and will help you understand better what you have to do to achieve a NATURAL vitamin D status. <a href="">GRASSROOTSHEALTH D ACTION</a> is another good source of information. There you will find not only the world's cheapest postal 25(OH)D testing service ($40) but also a chart showing the incidence of chronic disease by 25(OH)D status. Under the documentation tab are links to more research. Anyone worried about the amounts of vitamin d required to enable human breast milk to flow replete with D3 may want to read <a href="">Vitamin D and Cancer Mini-Symposium: The Risk of Additional Vitamin D Reinhold Vieth</a> Available from Grassrootshealth and which explains the science behind the fact that up to 10,000iu/daily/D3 can be taken safely even in areas with ample sunlight. Most people however will do fine with 5000~6000iu/daily. While 600~800iu/daily may reduce the risk of preeclampsia if you are going to the trouble of repleting vitamin D status you may as well raise 25(OH)D level to that human DNA evolved to work best at. The cost of 360 x 5000iu/daily oil based capsules (a years supply) is around $15 or for UK readers less than £10.