Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Body Made Vitamin Deficiency is Linked to Pre-eclampsia

Vitamin D is the only human body-made vitamin. It is not obtained from foods that are consumed. Instead, the D vitamin is actually obtained by sunlight on the skin. There has been a lot of media coverage about the dangers of getting too much sun but it is essential that the skin is exposed to sunlight to obtain the recommended daily allowance of the D vitamin. In reality, the amount of time that a person has to spend in the sun to receive a sufficient dose of the D vitamin is extremely small and just a few minutes a day will be sufficient and not have any adverse effects from the amount of ultra-violet light received.

Vitamin D deficiency early in pregnancy is associated with a five-fold increased risk of preeclampsia, according to a study from the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences reported this week(Sept. 7) in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

A serious complication of pregnancy marked by soaring blood pressure and swelling of the hands and feet, preeclampsia is the leading cause of premature delivery and maternal and fetal illness and death worldwide, conservatively projected to contribute to 76,000 deaths each year. Preeclampsia, also known as toxemia, affects up to 7 percent of first pregnancies, and health care costs associated with preeclampsia are estimated at $7 billion a year in the United States alone, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation.

“Our results showed that maternal vitamin D deficiency early in pregnancy is a strong, independent risk factor for preeclampsia,” said Lisa M. Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) and lead author of the study. “Women who developed preeclampsia had vitamin D concentrations that were significantly lower early in pregnancy compared to women whose pregnancies were normal. And even though vitamin D deficiency was common in both groups, the deficiency was more prevalent among those who went on to develop preeclampsia.”

“Low vitamin D early in pregnancy was associated with a five-fold increase in the odds of preeclampsia,” said Dr. Bodnar, who also is an assistant investigator at the university-affiliated Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI). “Data showed this increase risk persisted even after adjusting for other known risk factors such as race, ethnicity and pre-pregnancy body weight. Also troubling was the fact that many of the women reported taking prenatal vitamins, which typically contain 200 to 400 International Units of vitamin D,” she said.

“Even a small decline in vitamin D concentration more than doubled the risk of preeclampsia,” noted James M. Roberts, M.D., senior author of the study and MWRI founding director. “And since newborn’s vitamin D stores are completely reliant on vitamin D from the mother, low vitamin levels also were observed in the umbilical cord blood of newborns from mothers with preeclampsia.”

A vitamin closely associated with bone health, vitamin D deficiency early in life is associated with rickets – a disorder thought to have been eradicated in the United States more than 50 years ago – as well as increased risk for type 1 diabetes, asthma and schizophrenia.

The most important function of the D vitamin is to help control how much calcium is absorbed from food. The majority of the calcium is used to build strong teeth and bones but it is also needed to send messages along the nerves and to help muscles, such as the heart muscles, to contract. It is the D vitamin that ensures that there is always sufficient calcium in the blood to perform these tasks. Other functions that require the D vitamin relate to the immune system and it is believed that it is also a contributing factor in reducing the risk of contracting cancer and, in particular, colon cancer.

The variant of the D vitamin that is formed under the skin is known as vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol. This D vitamin is created when the ultraviolet in the sunlight reacts with a type of cholesterol that is found under the skin naturally. The D3 is converted into a more active form of the d vitamin in the liver and is then diverted to where it is needed the most. Some of the D vitamin remains in the liver and kidneys to help reabsorb the calcium from the blood. The rest of the D vitamin is dispersed to the bones to help them retain their calcium and the intestines to aid absorption of calcium from food.

Foods that are rich in vitamin D includes:
* Milk fortified with vitamin D
* Fish
* Egg yolks
* Liver
* Fortified cereal

Dairy foods are very high in calcium, especially milk, yogurt and cheese. Other good sources include calcium-enriched orange juice, rice beverages, and soy beverages.

I have no recommendations and you should discuss your doctor.

If you decide to take supplement of Vitamin D here

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