Food and Behaviour Research

Donate Log In

01 December 2016 - HPClive - Prenatal Vitamin D Could Lower Baby's ADHD Risk, While Some Diabetes Drugs May do the Opposite

Rachel Lutz
A pair of recent studies may provide soon-to-be mothers insight on how the vitamins and drugs they take while pregnant will impact their child's brain.
The first found that the age of two and a half years, children whose mothers took vitamin D during their pregnancies demonstrate fewer symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark Faculty of Health Sciences examined toddlers through a behavior checklist in order to examine the links between mothers who took vitamin D during their pregnancy and the development of ADHD in their offspring. The Child Behavior Checklist – completed on the behalf of 1,233 children – was designed for children ages 1.5 years to five years and was returned to the study authors by the parents. The researchers also measured the levels of vitamin D in the mothers’ umbilical cord blood.
The study authors added that although an ADHD diagnosis cannot be made by age two and a half, that was the age where the mothers were instructed to complete the behavior checklist.
For every 10 nmol/L increase in the vitamin D concentration in umbilical blood, the risk of being among the 10% highest score on the ADHD symptom scale fell by 11%,” study initiator and professor, Niels Bilenberg, PhD, said in a press release. “And the trend was clear: those mothers who had taken vitamin D, had a vitamin D level in their umbilical blood over 25 nmol/L, had children with lower ADHD scores. This was after we had corrected for other factors that could explain the link, such as the mother’s age, smoking [habits], alcohol [use], obesity, education, number of children, psychiatric disease in the parents, child’s sex, age and seasonal variation.”
Published in The Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, the study is not the first to notice a link between vitamin D use and ADHD early ADHD symptoms, but the researchers added that these other studies demonstrate that vitamin D is important for early fetal brain development. However, they are still unable to say with any certainty that vitamin D protects against early ADHD symptoms.