Maternal vitamin D supplements may help language
Vitamin D deficiency during early pregnancy is associated with an almost two-fold higher rate of language impairment in the offspring; a study from WA has shown.
In a long term follow up study of children born between 1989 and 1991, researchers found that maternal serum vitamin D levels at 18 weeks of pregnancy were related to language difficulties in the children at five and 10 years.
However, contrary to other studies, vitamin D insufficiency during pregnancy was not linked to offspring behavioural or emotional problems at any age, according to the findings published in Pediatrics (online Feb 13).
Researchers from the Telethon Institute for Child Health in Perth say one of the intriguing findings from their research was the suggestion of a threshold for serum vitamin D levels. Rather than a dose-response relationship, they found that there was a cut-off level of 50nmol/L for circulating 25 (OH)-vitamin D levels, below which the language impairment was seen.
This threshold effect was similar to that seen for vitamin D levels and other health outcomes such as bone density and colorectal cancer risk, they note.
They say the developing fetus is completely reliant on maternal vitamin D stores, and vitamin D performs a number of physiological and endocrine roles fundamental to neurodevelopment.
“Maternal vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy may reduce the risk of developmental language difficulties among their children,” they conclude.