Our growing awareness of the mind-body connection continually points to the importance of nutrition not just for physical health, but also for mental and emotional wellbeing. Vitamin D is one such nutrient which serves an essential role in the body including supporting the immune system, bone development, and mental health.
Monitoring vitamin D levels during pregnancy is a helpful screening tool, especially since recent data suggest that doses of 4000IU in the second and third trimester may minimize complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.(1) Another study found that deficiency/insufficiency of vitamin D levels at 13 weeks gestation were associated with depressive symptoms at 16 weeks postpartum. (2) vitamin D has also been found to reduce inflammation. In particular one study found that women supplemented with vitamin D (400IU/day) showed lower levels of inflammatory markers when compared to the placebo group. (3)
In addition to supporting your emotional wellbeing, vitamin D plays an important role in the development of your baby’s bone and hormonal health. People who are prone to vitamin D deficiency include those living in northern climates, people with darker skin pigmentation, those who consume a low fat diet or are taking steroids.
While small amounts of vitamin D can be obtained through fish, eggs and cod liver oil, sunlight remains the primary source of this essential nutrient.We first encourage increasing dietary sources of foods rich in vitamin D:
- Cod liver oil
- Grass fed (full fat) dairy
- Mushrooms like Shiitake
When supplementing, it is important to periodically have your levels tested to make sure they are within a normal range. Combining Vitamin D with Vitamin K2 may provide even better protection of important systems in the body. We like this formula for that reason. Talk with you midwives if you are interested in having your vitamin D levels tested.
(1) J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2013 Jul;136:313-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2013.01.002. Epub 2013 Jan 10.”Health characteristics and outcomes of two randomized vitamin D supplementation trials during pregnancy: a combined analysis.” Wagner CL1, McNeil RB, Johnson DD, Hulsey TC, Ebeling M, Robinson C, Hamilton SA, Hollis BW.
(2) Psychosom Med. 2012 Sep;74(7):751-7. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3182639fdb. Epub 2012 Aug 9.”Maternal early-pregnancy vitamin D status is associated with maternal depressive symptoms in the Amsterdam Born Children and Their Development cohort.”Brandenbarg J1, Vrijkotte TG, Goedhart G, van Eijsden M.
(3)J Nutr. 2013 Sep;143(9):1432-8. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.177550. Epub 2013 Jul 24.”Vitamin D supplementation affects serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, insulin resistance, and biomarkers of oxidative stress in pregnant women.” Asemi Z1, Samimi M, Tabassi Z, Shakeri H, Esmaillzadeh A.