Maternal Vitamin D May Be Vital To Childhood Development

Vitamin D and Childhood DevelopmentAccording to new research preventing Vitamin D deficiencies in women who are pregnant may be important for insuring their child’s normal development.

Over 7000 mother child pairs were studied in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children a cohort study.  All pairs were accessed for Vitamin D status (serum total 25(OH)D) levels during pregnancy (for the mother) and at least one measure of child neurodevelopment: Pre-school development at six to 42 months; Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire scores at age 7; IQ (Intelligence Quotient) at age 8; Reading Ability at age 9.  Additional tests assessing the child’s coordination, balancing, jumping, kicking a ball, building brick towers, were performed.

Researchers reported that the children of Vitamin D deficient mothers were more likely to have test scores in the lowest group (the bottom 25%) for pre-school developments tests (gross and fine motor development) when compared to the children of Vitamin D sufficient mothers.  Prenatal Vitamin D insufficiencies were also found to affect the social development of the children at ages 3 and ½.  No associations between maternal Vitamin D status and other outcomes at older ages like IQ or reading abilities were seen.

Researchers concluded that preventing Vitamin D deficiencies in pregnancy may be important to prevent below average development in the first four years of a child’s life.

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Omega 3 and 6 May Improve Reading for Children

Omega-3 Children's ReadingAccording to a recent study improved reading skills in mainstream schoolchildren was seen with daily supplementation with both Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids.

Over 150 schoolchildren in grade 3 (9 and 10 years of age) participated in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.  Participants took the Logos test (A computer based test) that measures their skills in reading in various ways, including vocabulary, ability to read nonsense works and reading speed.  The children received either an Omega 3 and Omega 6 supplement or a placebo containing palm oil.  The study lasted 6 months.  Parents, children and the researchers were unaware of which participants received the supplement and which received the placebo until the study was completed.  After an initial 3 month period all of the children began receiving the actual Omega 3 and Omega 6 supplement for an additional 3 months.

Researchers could see an improvement in the participants reading skills for the supplement group in comparison to the placebo group even after the first 3 month period.  Particularly obvious was the ability to read nonsense words aloud and phonologically decode the word so that the word was pronounced correctly.

No children who had been diagnosed with ADHD participated in this study but parents were able to identify children with milder attention problems.  These children saw even larger improvements in many tests including faster reading times.

 Further studies are needed according to researchers.

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Kids with Vitamin D Deficiency More Likely to Develop Asthma

asthmaA new study has found children who are deficient in Vitamin D are more likely to develop asthma as well as allergies and eczema.

According to researchers this study was the first of its kind to track Vitamin D levels from birth to the onset of the asthmatic condition.  A clear link between prolonged Vitamin D deficiencies in early childhood and asthma was shown.

Children’s Vitamin D status was assessed at birth and follow ups were performed at ages ½ year, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, 5 years and 10 years.  Children with low Vitamin D levels during their first few years of life were more likely to have allergic immune responses than children with normal Vitamin D levels.  Children with a Vitamin D deficiency at 6 months of age were more likely to have more harmful bacteria in their upper airways in addition to an increased tendency to have severe lower respiratory infections with a fever.  These are two conditions that have previously been associated with increased risks for the development of asthma.

Researchers believe that babies who are deficient in Vitamin D have an increased level of harmful bacteria in their upper airway and then become more prone to critical infections in the respiratory tract.  It is known that Vitamin D plays an integral role in supporting a healthy immune function and promoting the development of healthy lungs.

Further studies are needed.

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