Janbek J, Specht IO, Heitmann BL (2019) Nutr Rev. May 1;77(5): 330-349. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuy071. Epub 26 Feb 2019
Vitamin D plays an important role in the development of the brain, which is one of the earliest fetal organs to develop. Results from epidemiological studies investigating associations between maternal levels of vitamin D during pregnancy and offspring neurodevelopment are mixed and inconclusive.
This systematic review of studies that examined vitamin D levels in pregnancy and offspring neurodevelopment used 3 specific domains-timing of exposure during pregnancy trimesters, neurodevelopmental outcomes, and offspring age at assessment of outcomes-to determine whether vitamin D status in pregnancy is associated with offspring neurodevelopment.
A search of the Embase, PsychInfo, Scopus, and The Cochrane Library databases in September 2017 and February 2018 identified 844 articles, of which 46 were retrieved for full-text assessment.
Eligibility criteria were used to select studies. All authors examined the studies, and consensus was reached through discussion. Results were divided according to the 3 domains.
Authors examined the studies independently, and data from eligible studies were extracted using a modified version of the Cochrane data collection form. Using the modified Downs and Black checklist, 2 authors assessed the quality of the studies independently and were blinded to each other's assessment. Consensus was reached upon discussion and with the involvement of the third author.
Fifteen observational studies were included. Vitamin D in pregnancy was associated with offspring language and motor skills in young children. Associations persisted into adolescence, and results were not dependent on the timing of vitamin D exposure during pregnancy. No supplementation studies were identified.
There is some evidence that low vitamin D status in pregnancy is associated with offspring language and motor development, particularly in young children.