The upper level: examining the risk of excess micronutrient intake in pregnancy from antenatal supplements

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Scopus citations


Micronutrient deficiencies are prevalent and co-occurring among pregnant women in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). To prevent and treat deficiencies, antenatal vitamin and mineral supplements are the most common interventions during gestation. With most micronutrients, there can be health risks when intake regularly exceeds a high amount, and an upper threshold value set by the United States and Canada, the World Health Organization, and other groups is commonly called an upper intake level (UL). This review summarizes what is known about risks in pregnancy when ULs are exceeded and assesses the potential risk of exceeding the UL if a pregnant woman is taking a multiple micronutrient supplement. Overall, there is limited information on pregnancy-specific risks from excess intake. When assuming high dietary intake plus the amount in a standard multiple micronutrient supplement (with 30 mg of iron), only niacin and iron would be expected to slightly exceed the UL. Known risks for this level intake for each nutrient are transient and mild.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-34
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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