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.