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Vitamin D Status in Pregnancy May Reduce Incidence of Asthma in Newborns

Saturday March 10, 2018
Vitamin D Status in Pregnancy May Reduce Incidence of Asthma in Newborns

Over a third of individuals in the UK are deficient in Vitamin D, due to low exposure to sunlight (1). Public Health England recommends vitamin D supplementation for all adults and children, particularly during the winter months.


In particular, it is necessary for all pregnant women to achieve adequate vitamin D status to support foetal growth and development. A maternal deficiency in vitamin D may result in foetal and infant deficiency, which may negatively impact infant growth and development.


Specifically, the onset of asthma in infants may be linked to Vitamin D deficiency during foetal development, according to emerging evidence (2). M Wolsk et. al analysed two large trials conducted in USA and Denmark, which assessed the effects of prenatal vitamin D3 supplementation on the incidence of asthma and recurrent wheeze in infants (0-3 years of age) (2).


The supplemental dose of vitamin D ranged from 2,400 IU – 4,000 IU daily, and involved a combined total of 1,387 participants. 


After combining results from both studies, it was observed that supplementation reduced incidence of asthma and wheeze by 25%. The beneficial effects were especially pronounced in mothers that were vitamin-D-deficient at the beginning of the trial, where supplementation resulted in a 46% reduced risk of infant respiratory infections.


Vitamin D plays a multifaceted role in foetal development. With regards to respiratory health, it is suggested that vitamin D is involved in influencing foetal lung maturation and immune development. Impaired development of the lungs and a weakened immune system can therefore contribute to respiratory infections in later stages of life.


In conclusion, vitamin D3 supplementation during pregnancy may reduce the incidence of asthma in infants. However, further research is required to establish the optimal dose and duration of supplementation of D3 in pregnant women to influence foetal respiratory health.



Salma Dawood is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Human Nutrition.



1)      Judy More, Prevention of vitamin D deficiency, British Journal of Family Medicine, available at:
2)      Wolsk HM, Chawes BL, Litonjua AA, Hollis BW, Waage J, Stokholm J, et al. (2017) Prenatal vitamin D supplementation reduces risk of asthma/recurrent wheeze in early childhood: A combined analysis of two randomized controlled trials. PLoS ONE 12(10): e0186657.


The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


TAGS: Children's Healthchildren's health, vitamin D


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