Vitamin D plays a role in mothers and their offspring
Vitamin D plays a role in mothers
and their offspring
Deficiency during pregnancy
Earlier studies have found impaired language and motor development, and general intelligence, in children whose mothers were deficient in vitamin D while pregnant. In this study of 4,229 children and their moms, doctors measured mothers’ vitamin D levels halfway through pregnancy and in umbilical cord blood at birth.
At age six, parents completed behavioral questionnaires. Mothers whose vitamin D levels were lower than 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/ml) during pregnancy were more likely to have a child with autistic traits compared to mothers whose vitamin D levels were sufficient, which doctors defined as at or above 20 ng/ml. Children whose moms were deficient in vitamin D mid-pregnancy were 3.8 times more likely to exhibit autistic traits compared to kids of mothers with sufficient vitamin D levels.
The number of women deficient in vitamin D more than doubled from mid-pregnancy to birth; 16 percent to 36 percent. This finding is particularly important because the developing baby depends entirely on mother for its vitamin D supply. Doctors said supplementing with vitamin D while pregnant is a safe, accessible, and inexpensive way to reduce chances of children developing autism spectrum traits.
Autism scores improved
In the first placebo-controlled study to measure the effects of vitamin D supplements on autism symptoms, 85 boys and 24 girls, age 3 to 10, took a placebo or up to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day. Doctors defined normal vitamin D levels at or above 30 ng/ml; insufficiency from 20 ng/ml, and deficiency below 20 ng/ml.
After four months, vitamin D levels had increased from 26 to 46 ng/ml in the vitamin D group, and from 27 to 28 ng/ml for placebo. Autism symptom scores decreased 17.7 percent for vitamin D and 1.9 percent for placebo. The vitamin D group also improved in social responsiveness compared to placebo.
Reference: Molecular Psychiatry; November, 2016, Published Online