Vitamin D intake during pregnancy linked to children’s IQ scores ─Study

*Research findings suggest that many women may have deficient levels of Vitamin D

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Vitamin D is generally regarded a powerful supplement for pregnant women.

Experts, again, have found that higher levels of the vitamin can lead to better blood pressure outcomes for infants, while a lack of the vitamin can increase the likelihood of children developing ADHD.

Researchers from Seattle Children’s Hospital have discovered that it can also affect kids’ cognitive development.

According to the study findings, higher vitamin D levels during pregnancy were linked with higher IQ scores during childhood.

Researcher Melissa Melough stated: “Vitamin D deficiency is quite prevalent. The good news is there is a relatively easy solution.

“It can be difficult to get adequate vitamin D through diet, and not everyone can make up for this gap through sun exposure, so a good solution is to take a supplement.”

In regard to the benefits of vitamin D during the study, and to understand how vitamin D levels during pregnancy could affect children’s intelligence, the researchers analysed results from the Conditions Affecting Neurocognitive Development and Learning in Early Childhood (CANDLE) study.

The scientists examined the mothers’ vitamin D levels during pregnancy and then assessed their children’s IQ scores between the ages of four and six years old.

Eventually, the researchers learned that higher vitamin D levels were linked with higher childhood IQ levels.

They believe that vitamin D likely aids in brain development, which can contribute to better cognitive functioning and academic performance.

Melough also noted that 600 international units (IU) is the recommended daily dose of vitamin D.

While diet and sunlight are helpful, a supplement is usually a good way for consumers to up their intake and reach these levels, they opined.

Despite the positive associations that were linked with higher levels of vitamin D, the researchers explained that more than 45 percent of the women involved in the study were vitamin D deficient during pregnancy, and this risk was even higher for Black women.

Melough said: “Melanin pigment protects the skin against sun damage, but by blocking UV rays, melanin also reduces vitamin D production in the skin.

“Because of this, we weren’t surprised to see high rates of vitamin D deficiency among Black pregnant women in our study.

Even though many pregnant women take a prenatal vitamin, this may not correct an existing vitamin D deficiency.”

The researchers hope that these findings highlight the importance of vitamin D during pregnancy and encourage more women to ask for prenatal screenings for vitamin levels to determine who is a prime candidate for a supplement.

“Widespread testing of vitamin D levels is not generally recommended, but I think health care providers should be looking out for those who are at higher risk, including Black women,” stated Melough.

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