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Should You Supplement Vitamin D During Pregnancy?

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Should pregnant women take Vitamin D supplements, and if so, how much?

No other vitamin deficiency is as common during the dark winter months as the sun vitamin. Therefore, supplementing to avoid deficiency during pregnancy makes a lot of sense.

A recent study shows that supplementing Vitamin D reduces the risk of common pregnancy complications, such as high blood sugar and high blood pressure. Despite a very low dose – only 400 IU daily, compared to placebo – there were significantly positive results.

As previous studies have shown the same results (a lower blood sugar, a lower blood pressure, lower insulin levels) from supplementation in non-pregnant people, the results from this study are clearly credible.

What Dose is Appropriate During Pregnancy?

I usually recommend a dosage between 2,000 IU daily (small women) to 5,000 IU (large men) for adults during the dark winter months. For young children 1,000 IU daily may be appropriate.

The above are the doses needed to avoid severe deficiency and where the risk of overdosing hardly exists.

I see no reason for pregnant women to take lower doses than this. The requirement will likely be at least as great during pregnancy. A previous study on 4,000 IU Vitamin D given daily to pregnant women showed, furthermore, that this was completely safe and cut the risk of infections and preterm birth in half.

When my spouse was pregnant she took 4 – 5,000 IU Vitamin D daily. Since birth, my daughter Klara has received 1,000 IU Vitamin D drops daily. She couldn’t be healthier or more perfect (of course). She’s also the least autistic child I know.

Do you have an interesting experience with Vitamin D supplementation?

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11 Comments

  1. FrankG
    It makes a great deal of sense... especially in these days of rapid migration when folks are living where our skins are not optimally adapted to the sunlight levels -- not to mention covering up with clothes and SPF 5,000 for fear of skin cancer, plus office jobs in sealed buildings under artificial light etc.. etc...

    Happy to hear progress reports on Klara... no doubts she is perfect :-)

    Pregnancy is not a personal issue for me (I'm past 50... and male!) but I am making more of an effort to get sunlight on my skin; by getting out and about in the Summer months. I used to burn and again maybe anecdotal, but since LCHF I find my skin is better able to tan :-)

  2. robert
    I like canned cod-liver. It's quite heavy on vitamin A, but once in a while it should be OK I guess. A good amount of Vitamin D as well. And tasty!
  3. Ted Hutchinson
    Perhaps readers here will be interested to see the amounts of cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) thought to be necessary during pregnancy in 1947
    Vitamin-D Requirements in Pregnancy

    You may also be interested in what the Vitamin D council has to say on Vitamin D during pregnancy and breastfeeding (if you cannot access it then please let me know and I'll find a way round the problem.

    i suspect that human milk should be vitamin d replete. It's interesting to note that Luxwolda found that East Africans (living now as human DNA evolved) have levels around that 46ng/ml 115 nmol/l mark and these levels RISE during pregnancy.

    Please don't forget the relationship between MAGNESIUM and Vitamin D.
    Magnesium, vitamin D status and mortality: results from US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001 to 2006 and NHANES III"
    You will not be able to benefit from vitamin d if/while you are magnesium deficient.
    Most modern industrially produced foods lack the amount of magnesium previously present.
    GM/NON GM corn example But it's the same with wheat.

    We also must not forget that Vitamin D is most effective as an anti inflammatory agent around the 50ng/ml 125nmol/l mark. (particularly if magnesium is adequate)
    It's too late tonight to summarise Dr Cannell's Vitamin D~Autism theory but i suspect that keeping 25(OH)D levels at a natural optimum level will better enable your body to deal with inflammation and/or infection. see
    Autism spectrum disorder in children born preterm—role of exposure to perinatal inflammation

  4. Mike H
    Thank you for this post, Dr. Eenfeldt. My wife is now 34 weeks pregnant and has been taking 5,000 IU of Vitamin D daily her entire preganancy. She couldn't be more healthy.

    I wonder, in what form do you give a newborn Vitamin D? What drops do you get?

  5. Paul
  6. Abdul
    Hi Andreas and thank you for the post. My wife too 3000-5000 IU throughout her pregnancy and now that she is breastfeeding takes 5000 IU daily. My son gets 1000 IU every second day and we crush a 100mg Vitamin C tablet for him daily which he has as a drink. He is, thanks to God, a picture of perfect health and happiness. Now at 8 months, other parents marvel at his strong appetite and his ability to stand up strongly. My wife also took a high quality, molecularly distilled fish oil supplement throughout the pregnancy, providing 1000mg of DHA daily. We are noticing that my boy's visual acuity is quite strong (he can track small birds flying over our house and is also fascinated with the small planes that fly over our house). You will also be happy to know that we threw in the bin the government booklet on eating during pregnancy that my wife was given at the clinic - it advocated a high carb, low fat diet.
  7. Kasia
    Hello, greetings from Poland.
    I wanted to ask you what's your opinion on vaccination of infants? In Poland some of them are mandatory, some of them are not and some of them seem to be really dangerous (have the possibility to cause autism). I know it's probably not the topic of a LCHF diet, but I'm on a LCHF diet and planning to be a full LCHF mom in a near future :) it would be great to hear some more info from a doctor from the other side of Baltic Sea :)
  8. 1 comment removed
  9. Mary
    If you're going to supplement vitamin D then you should also add Vitamin K as they work in synergy together. K2 is the form that works best.
    http://simplypregnant.net
  10. linnsie
    So did your wife take vit D supplement 4-5000 IU daily throughout entire pregnancy? or only sencond or third trimester? I took 3000 IU vit D in my first tremester and I feel like I took it too much.
  11. Sarahjeffries
    There are some foods and ingredients that can replenish your energy to its normal state. The foods include; lean protein, vegetables, and fruits. Otherwise, you'll need supplements to enhance your condition, but you have to ask your doctors regarding to the adverse effect that may be given by the supplements. My suggestion is taking natural energy resources, that can be obtained from healthy foods. If you don't mind l suggest you this link for more information http://www.aboutgettingpregnant.com
  12. autisticgirl
    What about the research which suggests that too much vitamin d is linked to food allergies developing in infancy. I am.interested as I took about 3000iu daily while pregnant with my daughter and she has a severe fish allergy. No evidence it is linked to the vitamin d but this pregnancy I am being more cautious and taking 600iu daily. As a side note, why bring autism in to this?. Do you realise that it is offensive and damaging to autistic people to make statements that imply autism is something to fear? I am autistic and wouldn't change it for the world.

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