New Study Finds Vitamin D Supplementation During Pregnancy May Help Strengthen Baby’s Bones

About the Study
The recent Maternal Vitamin D Osteoporosis Study (MAVIDOS) conducted by the Medical Research Council (MRC) Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton, and published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal, found that vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy may be helpful in strengthening the bones of babies who are born in the winter months. This study analyzed over 1,000 women who were between 14 and 17 weeks pregnant, in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. 565 women were assigned to take 1,000 IU of a vitamin D3 oral supplement, and 569 women were assigned the placebo capsule, until the delivery of their babies.

What did the study find?
The researchers found that amongst the entire group of babies who were born throughout the 12 months, there was no significant change in their overall bone mass. However, what the study did find, was that the babies who were born during the winter months to the group of mothers who took the vitamin D supplement (also during the winter months), had a higher bone density mass than the babies who were born during the same period whose mothers received the placebo capsule. The study also showed that vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy is particularly beneficial to help reduce the risk of developing vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy.

What does this mean to me?
Strong bone mass early in life can help lay the foundation for stronger bones during childhood, adolescence and even adulthood, when the risk of osteoporosis due to loss of bone mass is high.

Vitamin D is required to help enhance the absorption of calcium in the bones, a mineral required from birth for the strengthening and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. Because the body is unable to make calcium itself, it must rely on obtaining this important mineral through diet or supplements, and it is further facilitated by sufficient vitamin D levels.

Canadians live in a climate where vitamin D is not attainable through natural sources (sunlight) during the winter months, thus the chances of developing a vitamin D deficiency remain likely without proper vitamin D supplementation. Health Canada suggests that Canadians between the ages of 9 to 70 receive at least 600 IU of vitamin D per day, while the Canadian Cancer Society recommends 1,000 IU per day. As with all vitamins and supplements, visit your health care practitioner to determine the optimal amount of vitamin D for you, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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To read the full study click here

To learn more about vitamin D and its benefits, click here.

To learn more about nutrients needed from maternity through motherhood, click here.