CLICK ON weeks 0 - 40 and follow along every 2 weeks of fetal development
Customizing vitamin D may benefit pregnant women
Vitamin D is a hormone that helps the body absorb calcium. It plays a crucial role in bone and muscle health. Skin naturally produces vitamin D after being exposed to sunlight. But, people can also obtain smaller amounts of it via food — such as milk fortified with vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency is common, even among pregnant women. Evidence suggests such a deficiency in pregnancy can harm not only mom's health, but fetal development — and a child's long-term skeletal health.
The analysis examined data from the Maternal Vitamin D Osteoporosis Study (MAVIDOS), a multi-center, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of vitamin D supplements given in pregnancy. The study examined vitamin D levels in 829 pregnant women who received early pregnancy ultrasounds at one of three United Kingdom hospitals.
Beginning around 14 weeks' gestation, women were randomized to receive either a 1000 IU/day dose of a vitamin D3 supplement called cholecalciferol — or of a placebo. Researchers measured vitamin D levels in participants' blood prior to the start of the study and again at 34 weeks' gestation.
Participants who received the D supplement had varying levels of vitamin D in their blood, even though they each received the same dose.
"Varied responses to vitamin D supplementation according to individual attributes can be used to tailor approaches to prenatal care," says Cyrus Cooper OBE, MA, DM, FRCP, FFPH, FMedSci, Professor of Rheumatology and Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Southampton's MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, and one of the study's authors. "This work will inform the development of strategies to enhance bone development across generations."
The study, "Determinants of the Maternal 25-hydroxyvitamin D Response to Vitamin D Supplementation During Pregnancy," will be published online at http://press.endocrine.org/doi/10.1210/jc.2016-2869, ahead of print.
Other authors of the study include: Rebecca J. Moon, Stefania D'Angelo, Sarah R. Crozier, Hazel M. Inskip, Elaine M. Dennison and Sian M. Robinson of Southampton General Hospital in Southampton, U.K.; Inez Schoenmakers and Ann Prentice of the Elsie Widdowson Laboratory in Cambridge, U.K.; Nigel K. Arden, Andrew Carr and M. Kassim Javaid of the University of Oxford in Oxford, U.K.; Nicholas J. Bishop of Sheffield Children's Hospital and the University of Sheffield in Sheffield, U.K.; Richard Eastell of the University of Sheffield in Sheffield, U.K.; Robert Fraser and Saurabh V. Gandhi of the Sheffield Hospitals NHS Trust in Sheffield, U.K.; Keith M. Godfrey of Southampton General Hospital and the University of Southampton in Southampton, U.K.; Stephen Kennedy and Aris T. Papageorghiou of John Radcliffe Hospital at the University of Oxford in Oxford, U.K.; M. Zulf Mughal of Royal Manchester Children's Hospitals in Manchester, U.K.; and David M. Reid at the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, U.K.
The research was supported by grants from Arthritis Research UK, Medical Research Council, Bupa Foundation, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, and NIHR Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, University of Oxford. Merck GmbH provided the vitamin D supplement used in the study.
Endocrinologists are at the core of solving the most pressing health problems of our time, from diabetes and obesity to infertility, bone health, and hormone-related cancers. The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest and largest organization of scientists devoted to hormone research and physicians who care for people with hormone-related conditions.
The Society, which is celebrating its centennial in 2016, has more than 18,000 members, including scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in 122 countries. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at http://www.endocrine.org. Follow us on Twitter at @TheEndoSociety and @EndoMedia.
Women who deliver in the summer, gain less weight in pregnancy, have higher vitamin D in
their blood early in pregnancy — keep higher levels of vitamin D over their counterparts.
Image Credit: Public Domain