Many Women Have Marginal, Low Vitamin Levels Preconception

Women had low levels of several vitamins that can be obtained in over-the-counter supplements
Many Women Have Marginal, Low Vitamin Levels Preconception
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

THURSDAY, Jan. 4, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Many women appear to have marginal or low concentrations of folate, riboflavin, vitamin B12, or vitamin D during preconception, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in PLOS Medicine.

Keith M. Godfrey, Ph.D., from University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined longitudinal patterns of maternal vitamin status from preconception, through early and late pregnancy, and to six months postdelivery, and assessed the influence of vitamin supplementation. The analysis included 1,729 women (aged 18 to 38 years from the United Kingdom, Singapore, and New Zealand) who were randomly assigned to receive a standard vitamin supplement (control: 859) preconception or an enhanced vitamin supplement (intervention: 870).

The researchers found that at recruitment, the proportion of patients with marginal or low plasma status was 29.2 percent for folate (<13.6 nmol/L), 7.5 and 82.0 percent for riboflavin (<5 nmol/L and ≤26.5 nmol/L, respectively), 9.1 percent for vitamin B12 (<221 pmol/L), and 48.7 percent for vitamin D (<50 nmol/L), with more than 90 percent of all participants having low or marginal status for one or more of these vitamins at recruitment. Plasma concentrations of supplement components were substantially higher among participants in the intervention group after one month of supplementation compared with the control group. Higher levels were maintained in the intervention group during pregnancy. During late pregnancy, markers of vitamin insufficiency/deficiency were significantly lower in the intervention group, and the proportion of participants with vitamin D insufficiency (<50 nmol/L) was lower in the intervention group (35.1 versus 8.5 percent). Six months postdelivery, plasma vitamin B12 remained significantly higher in the intervention group than in the control group.

"Preconception/pregnancy supplementation in amounts available in over-the-counter supplements substantially reduces the prevalence of vitamin deficiency and depletion markers before and during pregnancy, with higher maternal plasma vitamin B12 maintained during the recommended lactational period," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed ties to industry.

Abstract/Full Text

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