High Vitamin D levels during pregnancy linked to better bone health of offsprings
Studies suggest an association between maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy and bone health of offspring.
Therefore Vitamin D supplementation is recommended during pregnancy by experts but how much dose will be more beneficial is not known.
Researchers in a randomized clinical trial have found that that a much larger dose of Vitamin D may be beneficial for children's bone health.
High dose of vitamin D intake during pregnancy has the potential to promote greater bone health in the offspring, which could have a protective effect on the risk of fractures.
The study has been published in JAMA Pediatrics.
The researchers investigated the effect of a high dose vs standard dose of vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy on anthropometric and bone outcomes until age 6 years in the offspring. They randomized517 women to take either a 2,400-unit vitamin D supplement or a placebo from 24 weeks of pregnancy until one week after birth.
In addition, all the women were advised to take a 400-unit vitamin D supplement, in line with Danish health recommendations.
The researchers followed the offspring with periodic bone scans through age 6, recording bone density and evidence of fractures. Overall, children whose mothers took 2,800 units had significantly higher bone density at age 6 than children in the placebo group. The effects were particularly robust in women who were initially deficient in vitamin D and in those who gave birth during the winter when sunlight levels are lower and vitamin D blood levels tend to be low.
About 7 percent of children whose mothers took the high dose suffered bone fractures through age 6, compared with 11 per cent in the placebo group. High doses had no effect on birth weight, or on the height or weight of the 6-year-old children.
The researchers concluded that high-dose vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy improved offspring bone mineralization through age 6 years compared with the standard dose, suggesting an increased recommended gestational intake, which may influence peak bone mass, fracture risk, and risk of osteoporosis later in life. Vitamin D supplementation had no effect on anthropometric outcomes.
"There is no concern about safety, and no risk of side effects" at the doses given, said the senior author, Dr Hans Bisgaard, a professor of paediatrics at the University of Copenhagen. "We have the data suggesting it's useful, so let's use it. Health begins early in life. That's where we can make a difference."
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