Low vitamin D during pregnancy increases children risk of ADHD
A recent population-level study conducted by researchers from the University of Turku (Finland) and Columbia University (New York) demonstrates this association.
According to a recent study published by the ‘Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’, recent evidence has highlighted the association of low maternal vitamin D level in early to mid-pregnancy and an elevated risk for diagnosed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the offspring.
The nationwide, population-based, case-control study surveyed 1,067 children born between 1998 and 1999 diagnosed with ADHD in Finland. The data was collected before the current national recommendation in Finland for the intake of vitamin D during pregnancy, which is 10 micrograms per day throughout the year.
The researchers found out that the risk of ADHD was 34% higher in children whose mother had a vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy than in those children whose mother had a sufficient vitamin D level during the first and second trimesters.
The big problem of vitamin D
The primary investigator, Andre Sourander says that, despite the recommendations, vitamin D deficiency remains as a global problem. In Finland, vitamin D intake on mothers among several immigrant groups is not at a sufficient level.
"This research offers strong evidence that a low level of vitamin D during pregnancy is related to attention deficiency in offspring. As ADHD is one of the most common chronic diseases in children, the research results have a great significance for public health," says Sourander.
Health of mother and ADHD
The study is part of a larger research project that aims to discover the connections between the health of the mother during pregnancy and ADHD in offspring. The goal is to produce information for developing preventative treatments and measures for identifying children with ADHD risk.
The study was done in collaboration between researchers from the University of Turku, Finland, and Columbia University, New York and it was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health NIHM (USA) and the Academy of Finland, and it is part of the INVEST flagship programme of the University of Turku.