Bellad Girija C1, Rajashekar R. K2

Vitamin D is required throughout life. It is necessary for the formation of bone, but also likely plays an important role in several other physiological systems and it prevents several degenerative diseases and anticancer agent. Its use may well prevent several degenerative diseases, and it may also play a role as an anticancer agent. 84% of pregnant women in Northern India have suboptimal vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy can significantly impact pregnancy and fetal outcome. A high prevalence of physiologically significant hypovitaminosis D and its magnitude are now recognized in pregnant and breast feeding women and infants. Despite abundant sunlight, UV drenched Indians remain vitamin D deficient because of highly pigmented skin and inadequate direct sunlight exposure, either due to a cultural tendency or due to liberal use of sunscreen. In India, rickets and hypocalcaemia seizures due to vitamin D deficiency in exclusively breastfed young infants have been reported. Vitamin D in breast milk relates to mothers' vitamin D intake, skin pigmentation and sunlight exposure. Vitamin D is thought to have a role in asthma exacerbations. Repletion of vitamin D through supplementation ensures adequate maternal vitamin D stores for prenatal and postnatal period and hence, helps prevent infant rickets. A maternal daily intake of vitamin D 4000 IU/day increased the antirachitic activity of milk by nearly 100 IU/L.