Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers discover additional benefit of vitamin A

Date:
May 14, 2010
Source:
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Summary:
Vitamin A is critical to maternal health and child survival, yet in most developing countries Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness and increased child mortality. Scientists recently discovered a link between offspring lung function and maternal vitamin A supplementation.

Vitamin A is critical to maternal health and child survival, yet in most developing countries Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness and increased child mortality. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has long been a leader in vitamin A research, and scientists at the School recently discovered a link between offspring lung function and maternal vitamin A supplementation.

Related Articles


The results are published in the May 13, 2010, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Children of mothers who received vitamin A supplementation before, during and after pregnancy had significantly improved lung function when compared to those whose mothers received beta-carotene supplementation or placebo," said lead author of the study, William Checkley, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine with a joint appointment in the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health. "Lung function of offspring in mothers who received maternal vitamin A supplementation improved by about 40 ml versus those whose mothers received a placebo. This represents an approximately 3 percent increase in lung function. Furthermore, the magnitude of effect observed in this study is slightly greater than that associated with preventing exposure to parental smoking in school-age children."

Vitamin A deficiency affects nearly 190 million preschool-age children worldwide and is the underlying cause of 650,000 early childhood deaths annually. To examine the effect of antenatal vitamin A supplementation on lung function, researchers revisited a cohort of children ages 9 to 13 in rural Nepal whose mothers were randomized to receive vitamin A, beta-carotene or a placebo. Using a portable pneumatochometer, offspring lung function was measured. They found that children whose mothers received vitamin A instead of a placebo had a significantly greater forced expiratory volume at one second (FEV1) and a greater forced vital capacity (FVC), while children whose mothers received beta-carotene instead of a placebo had similar FEV and FVC.

"Improved lung function was likely specific to supplementation received in utero because this population of children was subsequently exposed beyond six months of age to semiannual vitamin A supplementation with high coverage as part of a national program during their preschool years," said Keith West, DrPH, MPH, George G. Graham Professor in Infant and Child Nutrition in the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health. "This benefit was limited to children whose mothers received vitamin A and not to those whose mothers received beta-carotene. Early interventions with vitamin A in communities where undernutrition is highly prevalent may have long-lasting consequences in lung health."

Vitamin A was first discovered in 1913 by E.V. McCollum, the founding chair of the School's Department of Chemical Hygiene, now Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. It was one of the first essential micronutrients to be identified. In the 1970s, Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS, dean emeritus at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and colleagues discovered the link between vitamin A deficiency and night blindness among children in rural Indonesia and found that vitamin A given twice a year reduced childhood mortality by a third. The World Bank declared vitamin A supplementation as one of the most cost-effective medical interventions of all time.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. William Checkley, Keith P West Jr., Robert A Wise, Matthew R Baldwin, Steven C LeClerq, Parul Christian, Joanne Katz, James Tielsch, Subarna Kharty and Alfred Sommer. Maternal Vitamin A Supplementation Before, During and After Pregnancy Improves Lung Function in Preadolescent Offspring. New England Journal of Medicine, 2010; 362: 1784-1794 [link]

Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Researchers discover additional benefit of vitamin A." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100512172334.htm>.
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2010, May 14). Researchers discover additional benefit of vitamin A. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100512172334.htm
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Researchers discover additional benefit of vitamin A." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100512172334.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins