Pregnant women – like the rest of us – have a choice to make. Do we wait for the hundreds of randomized controlled trials that are currently being conducted to see if vitamin D helps, or do we act now, on what we know now?
Today, pregnant women – and the rest of us – learned that pregnant women with the lowest vitamin D levels had infants that were six times more likely to get the most common cause of viral pneumonia over the first year of their life.
As I write this, the paper is not yet indexed in PubMed but I found some evidence it was rushed to publication (percentages of women using vitamin D supplements in the next to last row of Table 1 on page 1516 are reversed). However, what I liked was the authors intimation that current recommendations of 600 IU/day for pregnant women by the National Academies (the Food and Nutrition Board) are woefully inadequate. A number of studies exist showing vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for infantile pneumonia, but this was a prospective study of vitamin D levels, a type of study that is as close to a randomized controlled trial as you can get, while we wait.
The National Academies says that 600 IU/day is all pregnant women need and that 5,000 IU/day is dangerous. However, vitamin D scientists take an average of 5,000 IU/day.
We all have a choice to make, while we wait.