For all the wild, unconventional food cravings associated with pregnancy, most expectant mothers follow a fairly regimented diet. After all, any nutritional deficiencies at this time may have a direct effect on the brain health and general development of their little one. In past articles, we’ve reviewed the documented benefits of prenatal omega-3 supplements and infant prebiotics. Now, a new study from the Universities of London and Oxford in the United Kingdom has revealed that vitamin D could also play a pivotal role during these all-important nine months.
In fact, according to a report by NPR, this compound – also known as the sunshine vitamin – could have something to do with certain medical correlations that researchers have long been puzzled by. The source states that past research has shown a link between the season of birth and the likelihood of developing Multiple Sclerosis – an autoimmune disorder that affects 2.1 million people around the world, the National MS Society estimates.
In the latest study, scientists found that infants born in May, on average, had approximately 20 percent less vitamin D in their systems than those who were born in November, NutraIngredients-USA reports. They also had higher amounts of an autoreactive white blood cells that may target healthy human cells instead of infectious agents.
“The correlation with vitamin D suggests this could be the driver of this effect,” explained Oxford’s Dr Sreeram Ramagopalan.
One potential cause for this discrepancy in vitamin D levels could be that women who give birth in the spring don’t derive as much of this compound later on in their pregnancy due to the lack of natural sunlight in the winter. “There is a need for long-term studies to assess the effect of vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women and the subsequent impact on immune system development,” Dr. Ramagopalan said.
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