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Study calls for maternal vitamin D supplementation

by Nathan Gray

Vitamin D Photo by Mark Claus on Unsplash.jpg

New data that strongly implicates maternal levels of vitamin D with the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) in children means there is now a strong case for supplementation in pregnant women in countries where sunlight levels are low between October and March.


This systematic review shows a significant association between multiple sclerosis and month of birth, with children born in April being at highest risk, and those born in October at lowest risk.

Data on over 150,000 patients with MS were included in this meta-analysis, so these findings appear very robust.

Maternal Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is the key factor that can account for this link - because exposure of the skin to strong sunshine is the main source of Vitamin D. In countries at latitudes like the UK, Northern America and Canada, or Scandinavia, no Vitamin D can be made during the winter months.

Deficiencies of Vitamin D are known to be widespread in the general population in the UK and many other countries. These results again raise the question of just how much more evidence is needed of the damaging effects of Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy before some effective public health measures are taken - such as following the authors' call for Vitamin D supplementation of all pregnant mothers.

For details of this research study, see:

And for another recent news article on the importance of Vitamin D in pregnancy to healthy brain development, see:

For more news and research on this topic, please bookmarke the following lists, which are regularly updated.

21 Nov 2012 - Nutraingredients


The systematic review of previous studies in this area - published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry - finds that the month a child is born in has a significant effect on subsequent risk of developing MS. 

Led by Dr Ruth Dobson from Queen Mary University of London, UK, the study finds that risk of babies developing MS is highest in the month of April, and lowest in October.

"This is likely to be due to ultraviolet light exposure and maternal vitamin D levels, as demonstrated by the relationship between risk and latitude," write Dobson and her colleagues.