Health of Newborn Princes (and Princesses) and Mom’s Vitamin D Status During Pregnancy
With the excitement of a new royal baby, Prince George Alexander Louis, it is easy to overlook the important role his mother had over the past 9 months. A new study examines the importance of vitamin D during pregnancy.
Asemi and colleagues randomized 48 healthy pregnant women (18-40y) at 25 wk gestation to receive vitamin D supplements (400 IU/d) or placebo for 9 wk. At baseline, the women has serum 25(OH)D levels ranging from 14-18μg/L. The most deficient women were allocated to the vitamin D group so there were only 5 vs 11% with serum 25(OH)D <12μg/L. Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy significantly increased serum 25(OH)D and calcium levels, reduced concentrations of C-reactive protein (a measure of inflammation), fasting plasma glucose and serum insulin concentrations, and blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic).
The change in CRP levels is important. CRP levels rise in response to infections, inflammation and oxidative stress. The risk of a child having autism is 43% higher in mothers with elevated CRP during pregnancy. It may not be just vitamin D status that matters. Yang and colleagues reported higher total serum antioxidant status is associated with lower serum CRP concentrations.
Vitamin D supplementation reduced insulin resistance, a risk factor for diabetes. Previously, it has been shown that children born from women with a higher cord blood 25(OH)D level have a lower risk of eczema, type 1 diabetes and schizophrenia. All in all, there are excellent reasons for a woman to ensure that her vitamin D status is adequate during pregnancy.
Asemi Z, Samimi M, Tabassi Z, Shakeri H, Esmaillzadeh A. Vitamin D supplementation affects serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, insulin resistance, and biomarkers of oxidative stress in women. 2013 J Nutr doi: 10.3945/jn.113.177550
Yang Y, Chung S-J, Floegel A, Song WO, Koo SI, Chun OK. Dietary antioxidant capacity is associated with improved serum antioxidant status and decreased serum C-reactive protein and plasma homocysteine concentrations. 2013 Eur J Clin Nutr doi: 10.1007/s00394-012-0491-5