Higher Vitamin D Level during Pregnancy Linked to Higher IQ in Childhood

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Whether you get your daily dose of Vitamin D from the early morning sunshine or from a supplement, the important thing is to get sufficient amounts of it during pregnancy. Study shows that pregnant women with higher levels of Vitamin D gave birth to babies who had a higher IQ in childhood.

Disparities Evident Among Black Mothers

Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy was found to be significantly higher among black women, Science Daily reported. According to the study, around 80 percent of Black pregnant women in the U.S. are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy.

Vitamin D levels were found higher in White pregnant women compared to Black pregnant women. In the study, almost half of the pregnant mothers were found to be deficient in Vitamin D.

Melissa Melough, lead author and research scientist at Seattle Children's Research Institute revealed that Vitam D deficiency has become common among pregnant women. But, Black pregnant women are at a greater risk, the study claims. This is due to melanin pigment that reduces production of Vitamin D.

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Vitamin D In-Utero Linked to Preschool Children with Higher IQ

The study began in 2006, and overtime observed the health and development of the children. There are several controlled factors previous to the IQ test. It was important to determine only the link of higher Vitamin D levels in pregnancy to that of higher IQ.

The IQ tests were given to the children at ages 4 to 6 years old. The findings showed that the preschool kids who had sufficient Vitamin D in-utero scored higher in the IQ tests.

The researchers believe that nutritional supplementation and screening for Vitamin D deficiencies early during pregnancy can reduce risks. Further, it is believed Vitamin D supplementation can promote cognitive functions for the infant.

Lack of Vitamin D Can Hinder Brain Development

According to a similar research conducted in Spain, Vitamin D deficiencies during pregnancy may hinder fetal brain development. Further, Vitamin D deficiency can also impact mental and motor skills, Medicine Net reported.

2,000 pregnant women participated in the study. They were observed at the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. Then, when their babies were 14 months old, the researchers evaluated the babies' mental and motor abilities.

The findings showed that 14-month-old babies who had Vitamin D-deficient mothers had a lower score in mental and motor tests compared to those who were well-nourished with Vitamin D.

Furthermore, Dr. Eva Morales, epidemiologist and lead author of the study revealed that lower scores in motor and mental abilities can lead to lower IQs in childhood.

Previous research also linked Vitamin D deficiencies during pregnancy with language impairment among preschoolers and children up to the age of 10.

Addressing Vitamin D Deficiencies during Pregnancy

So, just how much Vitamin D should a pregnant woman take? The Institute of Medicine recommends 600 international units (IU) of Vitamin D a day. This includes Vitamin D supplements. However, there is a warning for pregnant women not to take more than 4,000 IU Vitamin D per day to avoid adverse effects.

Another organization, the Endocrine Society recommends a higher dosage of at least 1,500 to 2,000 IU of Vitamin D. The higher levels of Vitamin D prevent deficiency and may be linked to a higher IQ in childhood.

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