Many pregnant Australians are deficient in vitamin D

Although many Australians believe they have adequate vitamin D levels due to sunlight exposure, this study found that 25% of pregnant women in Canberra and 25.7% in Campbelltown, NSW were either deficient (<25nmol/L) or insufficient (26-50nmol/L) in vitamin D. Furthermore, supplementation with 500IU/d of vitamin D was found to be inadequate in raising vitamin D levels above the insufficient range. In total, 217 women were recruited at a mean age of 30.8yrs in Canberra and 27.9yrs in Campbelltown. The mean vitamin D level was 61.3nmol/L in Canberra and 57.6nmol/L./L in Campbelltown.

Season was a predictor of vitamin D, unsurprisingly, winter levels were significantly lower than summer levels. Attire (% skin exposure) was another important predictor. Vitamin D supplement of ≥500IU a day did not raise mean vitamin D levels significantly compared to vitamin D supplementation of <500IU/d. Being of non-Caucasian ethnicity also raised the risk of suboptimal vitamin D, compared to Caucasians (P<0.005).

The fetus is entirely dependent on its mother for vitamin D levels, since cord blood and maternal serum have similar vitamin D concentrations. If only non-Caucasian women were screened, 58% of women with suboptimal vitamin D would be missed. The authors also suggested routine supplementation with a dose of vitamin D greater than 500IU/d to be considered in pregnancy.

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is present in AB Extra Bone-care+ (comprehensive calcium supplement) and PM Next G Cal(Strengthen bones, tissues and teeth).

Perampalam, S., et al., Vitamin D status and its predictive factors in pregnancy in 2 Australian populations. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol, 2011. 51(4): p. 353-9.