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Vitamin D levels during pregnancy and infant brain development

Posted on: November 9, 2012   by  John Cannell, MD


In a landmark study, Dr Eva Morales of the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Spain and numerous colleagues wanted to know if maternal vitamin D deficiency has an effect on human brain development. As you may know, a recent study in Pediatrics found a strong association between maternal vitamin D deficiency and impaired language development in the child.

Whitehouse AJ, Holt BJ, Serralha M, Holt PG, Kusel MM, Hart PH. Maternal serum vitamin D levels during pregnancy and offspring neurocognitive development. Pediatrics. 2012 Mar;129(3):485-93.

Dr Morales and colleagues measured vitamin D levels in 1820 pregnant women. When the infant was 14 months of age, neurocognitive and psychomotor testing revealed that mothers with levels above 40 ng/ml had infants with the best brains. The improvement curve appears to slightly improve with a maternal level of 50 ng/ml, but the difference does not appear to be significant, as the curve flattens out around those two levels.

Morales E, Guxens M, Llop S, Rodríguez-Bernal CL, Tardón A, Riaño I, Ibarluzea J, Lertxundi N, Espada M, Rodriguez A, Sunyer J; on behalf of the INMA Project. Circulating 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 in Pregnancy and Infant Neuropsychological Development. Pediatrics. 2012 Sep 17.

Increasingly it appears that low maternal levels of vitamin D have long-lasting ill effects on the child’s brain function.

2 Responses to Vitamin D levels during pregnancy and infant brain development

  1. kenmerrimanmd

    I’ll bet my Mom had a less than stellar Vit D level not mention that she smoked at the time so I have many things to blame for me not being all that smart Oh well just have to work with what you got


  2. sswelm

    I forsee that in the not so distant future pregnacy with low levels of vitamine D will be have legal consequences for the personal doctors treating the woman.

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