High vitamin D levels during pregnancy lead to a higher IQ in the child, according to a study published in the fall of 2020 in the renowned Journal of Nutrition.
The higher the vitamin D level during pregnancy, the higher the IQ of the child
Vitamin D is now widely known as the sun vitamin with a variety of effects. The vitamin is also of enormous importance during pregnancy, as it is involved in healthy brain development, for example. In a study published in The Journal of Nutrition in the fall of 2020, researchers showed that maternal vitamin D levels (during pregnancy) are related to A higher vitamin D level in the mother could apparently also lead to a higher IQ in the child’s child.
Doctors should pay more attention to vitamin D levels
Study leader Melissa M. Melough, an epidemiologist and nutritionist at the Department of Child Health, Behavior, and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, said vitamin D deficiency is common — both in the general population and among pregnant women. Melough hopes her study can now help doctors to pay more attention to a good vitamin D supply, especially in risk groups.
Although many pregnant women take vitamin D, Melough explained, it may not be enough to correct an existing vitamin D deficiency. For the children, however, a vitamin D deficiency in the mother carries the risk of suboptimal development of the brain and nervous system.
Almost half of the pregnant women have a vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is particularly common in people with dark skin. According to Melough, 80 percent of black pregnant women are affected by a vitamin D deficiency. Overall, about 46 percent of the 1,019 pregnant women who took part in Melough’s study had vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml. Values between 30 and 50 ng/ml are considered healthy.
Child’s IQ increases with the mother’s vitamin D levels
If the IQ of the children aged 4 to 6 was checked, it was found that the higher the mother’s vitamin D level during pregnancy, the higher it was.
- The children of mothers who had vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml during pregnancy had an average IQ of only 96.
- If the mothers had a vitamin D level of more than 20 ng/ml during pregnancy, then their children showed an IQ of 103.3 on average.
Other factors that could influence the children’s IQ were considered in the study, e.g. B. Smoking, alcohol, maternal IQ, maternal educational status, etc.
The solution: take vitamin D!
“The good news,” says Melough, “is that solving this problem is relatively easy. It is difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone. Also, not everyone can soak up the sun regularly (to stimulate the skin’s own production of vitamin D). But anyone can take a vitamin D supplement.”
However, this should also be dosed sufficiently high. Because – as Melough mentioned at the beginning – those women who are already taking vitamin D supplements also suffer from a deficiency again and again, simply because the dose is too low for them.
Official intake recommendations for vitamin D are often too low
Depending on the country, between 600 and 800 IU of vitamin D per day are officially recommended, which critics consider far too low. Especially when there is already a deficiency, it cannot generally be remedied with such low dosages. On average, the diet rarely contains more than 200 IU of vitamin D, so the vitamin D level cannot be particularly supported in this way either.