Vitamin D may not help babies’ bones - study
London - Taking vitamin D while pregnant may not affect your baby’s bone health, scientists have revealed.
Current National Health Service guidelines tell pregnant and breastfeeding women to take ten micrograms of vitamin D every day, which is thought to give babies stronger bones.
But Professor Debbie Lawlor, from Bristol University, said there was “no strong evidence” that taking the supplements had any effect on babies’ bone health.
Her research, published in The Lancet medical journal, looked at vitamin D levels in 3960 women throughout their pregnancy.
After ten years, scientists measured the strength of their children’s bones.
They found pregnant women stored more of the ‘sunshine vitamin’ in their bodies during the summer months.
But the study showed there was no obvious link between a mother’s vitamin D level and her child’s bone health
However Dr Tony Falconer, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “We know that Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium in the body, which helps to keep bones and teeth healthy.
“Low levels have been associated with problems relating to the baby’s bone formation and a higher risk of diseases such as rickets and osteoporosis in later life.”
He explained that some women are more at risk of having low vitamin D levels.
These include those of south Asian, black African, black Caribbean, or Middle Eastern origin.
He also urged those who have limited exposure to sunlight or struggle with their weight to keep taking the supplements.
Dr Falconer said: “It is still particularly important these women get their required dose.
“As healthcare professionals, it is our role to reinforce the importance for proper diet and nutrition during pregnancy and throughout a woman’s lifespan.”
He added: “Further research is still needed to look at vitamin supplementation.
“This includes the potential benefits, harms and optimal dosing.” - Daily Mail
* The Cape Argus reports that Faiza Steyn, spokeswoman for the Western Cape Health Department, said vitamin D was not among the routine supplements offered to pregnant women in the province.
“In the Western Cape we follow the South African Maternity Care Guidelines and the only routine supplements given to pregnant women at the antenatal services are Ferrous sulphate and Folic acid. Also it is felt that children in South Africa are not at high risk of developing rickets or other bone related diseases, therefore Vitamin D is not among the routine supplements for pregnant women.”
Steyn said the province felt that Vitamin D deficiency related diseases would be most effectively prevented by the intake of a combination of vitamins and minerals and exposure to sunlight.