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Does vitamin D improve academic performance in children?

Posted on: April 12, 2012   by  Vitamin D Council


New research suggests 25(OH)D levels are not associated with academic outcomes in children.

Lawlor and colleagues looked to the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) which includes 3,171 children. Vitamin D levels were tested at an average age of 9.8, while academic performance was measured between 13-16 years old.

The researchers found no difference in academic performance with increased levels of 25(OH)D3. Although, they did see decreased academic performance in English in children with increased 25(OH)D2 levels between the ages of 13 and 14.

The authors stated:

“It is possible that the positive association of 25(OH)D with cognitive function seen in adults does not emerge until later in life or that the results from previous cross-sectional adult studies are due to reverse causality.”

Previous studies have shown correlations between higher 25(OH)D status and better cognitive function in adults. This is the first study examining whether different forms of vitamin D (D2, D3) have similar correlations with cognitive function among children.

The authors confirmed that this finding was not expected and should be investigated in future research.


Tolppanen A, et al. Association of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and D2 with academic performance in childhood: findings from a prospective birth cohort. J Epidemiol Community Health. Apr 2012.

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