Taking vitamin D during pregnancy is linked with higher child IQ

Posted Nov 8, 2020 by Tim Sandle
A new study has examined the levels of vitamin D in pregnant women and has correlated this with the intelligence of children born to the mothers (as measured by an IQ test). This suggests the role of vitamin D may be important.
New born babies sleep at a private hospital in India's Kolkata
New born babies sleep at a private hospital in India's Kolkata
Dibyangshu Sarkar, AFP/File
An analysis of the data, which hails from Seattle Children's Hospital, indicates that a mother's' vitamin D levels during period for which she is pregnant are associated with their children's IQ.
Vitamin D refers to a group of fat-soluble secosteroids. These compounds are responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, and many other biological effects. They have a long association with the working of the brain and an connection with improved cognition. While vitamin D is present in some foods, the main way by which people receive vitamin D is through sunlight, which triggers a reaction within the body. Where there are cases of vitamin D deficiency, there is the option to take supplements (although any vitamin supplement should be taken in conjunction with medical advice, given that there are risks of overdosing with some types of vitamins).
Data relating to vitamin D deficiency and later childhood IQ scores was drawn from the Conditions Affecting Neurocognitive Development and Learning in Early Childhood (CANDLE) study. The reason is due to the role played by vitamin D in terms of neurocognitive development,
The research looked at vitamin D levels among different groups of women, and drew the following conclusions:
Vitamin D deficiency is common during pregnancy.
With specific groups, black women seem to be at a greater risk since the melanin pigment in the skin reduces production of vitamin D.
Higher vitamin D levels among mothers during pregnancy could promote brain development and this may lead to higher childhood IQ scores.
The researchers recommend that health agencies put in place a system for screening with the potential for nutritional supplementation in order to correct any measured vitamin D deficiency for mothers who are considered to be at a higher risk in relation to this specific deficiency.
The research has been published in The Journal of Nutrition. The research paper is titled "Maternal Plasma 25-Hydroxyvitamin D during Gestation Is Positively Associated with Neurocognitive Development in Offspring at Age 4–6 Years."
As a note of caution, readers should note that IQ tests vary and are considered by many as a controversial measure. Most IQ tests are bound to be culturally biased as many things can hinder the acquired knowledge-based IQ of an individual.