Previous studies have suggested that vitamin D deficiencies among children can lead to risk for fracture and other comorbidities. However, researchers from the United Kingdom have demonstrated that there is no relevant link between maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy and offspring bone mineral content in late childhood.
Researcher Debbie A. Lawlor, PhD, of the MRC Centre for Causal Analyses in Translational Epidemiology at the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol, and colleagues sought to investigate this association in a large prospective study.
Lawlor and colleagues included mothers and offspring pairs from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (n=14,541), with a mean offspring age of 9.9 years.
Of 3,960 mother-and-offspring pairs included in a recent study, 77% (n=2,644) of mothers had sufficient 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, whereas 28% (n=1,096) displayed insufficient concentrations and 6% (n=220) had deficient concentrations in pregnancy. However, the total body less head (TBLH) and spinal bone mineral content (BMC) did not change between offspring of mothers in the two groups vs. sufficient 25-(OH)D concentrations, researchers wrote.
Furthermore, the researchers reported no link with offspring BMC found for any trimester, including the third trimester (adjusted mean difference of –0.03 g per 10 nmol/L; 95% CI, –1.71 to 1.65) for TBLH and (adjusted mean difference of 0.04 g per 10 nmol/L; 95% CI, –0.12 to 0.21) for spinal BMC.
Therefore, Lawlor and colleagues conclude that no relevant link was found between maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy and offspring BMC in late childhood.
In an accompanying commentary, Philip J. Steer, BSc, MD, FRCOG, FCOGSA (hon),of the division of cancer, faculty of medicine at Imperial College and academic department of obstetrics and gynecology at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, wrote that the researchers should be commended for their findings.
“In view of the inconsistency in results, it might seem unclear why vitamin D supplementation is officially recommended for all pregnant and breast-feeding women,” Steer wrote.
Steer calls for further long-term randomized trials of vitamin D supplementation.
For more information:
Lawlor DA. Lancet. 2013;doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)62203-X.
Steer PJ. Lancet. 2013;doi:10.1016/ S0140-6736(13)60098-7.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.