Vitamin D shortage

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vitamin D shortage

Pregnant women and newborns are underserved dramatically with vitamin D. This is the result of a study by Prof. Dr. Clemens Kunz from the Institute of Food Science, Justus-Liebig University of Giessen (JLU), together with Dr. Peter Gilbert, chief physician of St. Joseph Hospital in Giessen. It is the first study in Germany, which checks the actual vitamin D status in this group using blood tests. Kunz and Gilbert concluded from the results that a significantly higher vitamin D intake for pregnant women as well as for many other population groups is urgently needed to prevent health consequences such as disorders of bone formation. A higher intake of vitamin D could be made on food supplements, fortified foods or medicines. "But first, the authorities are required to increase the intake recommendations," said Kunz. Currently recommends the German Nutrition Society (DGE) for adults - including pregnant and lactating women - the inclusion of five micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D (200 IU) per day. In Canada, for example, the recommendation is for daily vitamin D intake ten times higher.

Kunz has made in his study, in partnership with the St. Joseph's in the casting of Krankenaus October to December 2010 in 84 pregnant women at delivery blood samples. Simultaneously, a sample from the umbilical cord of the child was removed. Then, the researchers examined the concentration of 25 OH D in the blood, which is the storage form of vitamin D, which is suitable for the determination of vitamin D status is best. The result: a vitamin D deficiency was present in 90 percent of women and 88 percent of the infants. Only two of 84 women and three of the examined newborn children had 25-OH D concentrations, which are more than 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol / L) on the latest recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (U.S.) by 2011.

In several international studies, researchers have already investigated the influence of maternal vitamin D status on the health of newborns. They were able to demonstrate a clear correlation between low 25-OH D levels and an increased number of new cases of acute lower respiratory tract infections, a decreased bone mineralization, rickets of prematurity and brain development. Intervention studies in recent years confirm the poor supply of many pregnant women during this sensitive period. They also illustrate that the current recommended intakes in Germany make any significant contribution to improving vitamin D status during this critical phase.

A lack of vitamin D leads to disturbances of bone formation. Rickets, osteomalacia (osteomalacia) and osteoporosis may result. Because not enough vitamin D is present, increased dissolved calcium from the bones - rather than take it out of the food - in order to obtain the necessary calcium concentration in the blood up.

Evidence can be a vitamin D deficiency in addition to the determination of 25 OH D by bone density measurements or the determination of parathyroid hormone in the blood. Groups at risk for vitamin D deficiency include, for example, pregnant and lactating women and their infants and the elderly.