Children whose mothers are deficient in vitamin D during pregnancy may grow up with lower-than-normal bone mass, putting them at risk of osteoporosis-related fractures later in life, a study suggests.
Researchers at the University of Southampton tested vitamin D levels in hundreds of pregnant women in 1991-92, then examined the bone health of their offspring almost a decade later.
“The ones that came from moms with low vitamin D had lower bone mass than the ones that came from moms with normal vitamin D,” said Dr. Cyrus Cooper, director of the university’s MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre and senior author of the study.
“So the difference in bone mass if your mom was vitamin D-deficient versus if she was normal was enough that it would be capable of altering your fracture risk by about 30 to 50 per cent, if it was sustained until later (in life),” Cooper said in an interview from Southampton, England.
“If it carried on to age 60 or 70, if that difference was preserved, it would be in late adulthood that the fractures would occur.”
The SOGC recommends that moms-to-be ingest at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day along with 400 units of vitamin D, especially in the second half of pregnancy. Helewa said vitamin and mineral supplements can be augmented with dairy products such as milk and yogurt, which are rich in calcium and may also be fortified with vitamin D.