Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Findings emphasize importance of vitamin D in pregnancy

Date:
June 22, 2013
Source:
Kingston University
Summary:
Pregnant women pass low levels of vitamin D on to their babies at almost three times the extent previously thought, according to new research.

Pregnant women pass low levels of vitamin D on to their babies at almost three times the extent previously thought, according to new research carried out at London's Kingston University.

While current studies suggest that around a fifth (19 per cent) of a newborn baby's supply or deficiency of vitamin D comes directly from its mother, experts from Kingston's School of Life Sciences have discovered that the figure is, in fact, almost three times as high at 56 per cent. The results have been revealed using a new measuring technique, developed in the laboratories at Kingston, which is able to examine eight different forms of vitamin D in greater detail for the first time.

The study, just published in Nutrition Journal, focused on 120 samples taken from 60 Greek mothers and their babies. The research was conducted with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. Although the Mediterranean nation enjoys more hours of sunshine than the United Kingdom, the research revealed that many of the mothers had low levels of vitamin D, suggesting that what they ate was an equally important source.

Professor Declan Naughton, who headed the Kingston University research team, said the findings made it more important than ever that mothers-to-be received the key nutrient not only through sunlight but also through foods such as oily fish. "The impact that mothers deficient in vitamin D have on their babies' levels is a much bigger problem than we thought," Professor Naughton said. "Maintaining good supplies during pregnancy is clearly of vital importance for both mothers' and babies' long term health."

Lack of the vitamin in pregnant women has been linked to diabetes and increased rates of caesarean section births, while babies can be smaller than average. In children, the deficiency can cause rickets -- a soft bone disease.

Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining good levels of calcium and phosphate which help form healthy bones and teeth. The two main forms are vitamin D3, which primarily comes from sunlight, and D2 which is found in a small number of foods including egg yolk, mushrooms, farmed salmon, mackerel, sardines and fortified bread and cereals. Processes in the body convert the vitamin into what is known as the circulating form -- the type commonly measured in routine blood tests -- followed by the active form -- the type that promotes calcium absorption, cell growth and immunity.

Professor Naughton and his team found that the type of vitamin D commonly measured in blood tests was not as reliable an indicator of vitamin D activity as other strands. They went on to discover that two epimer forms, previously thought to be unimportant, influenced levels in babies. "This shows the need for more accurate measurement to assess levels of vitamin D as well as the need to look more closely at its different forms," Professor Naughton said.

Further clinical studies would be required to examine the effectiveness of vitamin D supplements in pregnant women to see whether particular factors made it difficult for them to absorb the nutrient, Professor Naughton added.

The research forms part of wider investigations being conducted by Professor Naughton and his team into vitamin D's role in conditions including Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kingston University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Spyridon N Karras, Iltaf Shah, Andrea Petroczi, Dimitrios G Goulis, Helen Bili, Fotini Papadopoulou, Vikentia Harizopoulou, Basil C Tarlatzis, Declan P Naughton. An observational study reveals that neonatal vitamin D is primarily determined by maternal contributions: implications of a new assay on the roles of vitamin D forms. Nutrition Journal, 2013; 12 (1): 77 DOI: 10.1186/1475-2891-12-77

Cite This Page:

Kingston University. "Findings emphasize importance of vitamin D in pregnancy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130622154450.htm>.
Kingston University. (2013, June 22). Findings emphasize importance of vitamin D in pregnancy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130622154450.htm
Kingston University. "Findings emphasize importance of vitamin D in pregnancy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130622154450.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he expects revised CDC protocols on Ebola to focus on training, observation and ensuring health care workers are more protected. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
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