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Low vitamin D during pregnancy resulted in 2.7 percent less bone content at age 20 – Nov 2013

Maternal Vitamin D Status During Pregnancy and Bone Mass in Offspring at 20 Years of Age: A Prospective Cohort Study†

Journal of Bone and Mineral Research; DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.2138
Kun Zhu PhD1,2,*,
Andrew J. O. Whitehouse PhD3,‡,
Prue Hart PhD3,‡,
Merci Kusel MBBS3,‡,
Jenny Mountain MBA3,
Stephen Lye PhD4,
Craig Pennell PhD5,
John P Walsh PhD1,2
1 Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Australia
2 School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia
3 Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
4 Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada
5 School of Women's and Infants' Health, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia
* Corresponding author: Kun Zhu, PhD,
Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia; Email: kun.zhu at uwa.edu.au; Phone: +61 8 9346 4969; Fax: +61 8 9346 4109

It is uncertain whether the vitamin D status of pregnant women influences bone mass of their children. Cohort studies have yielded conflicting results; none have examined offspring at skeletal maturity. This longitudinal, prospective study investigated the association between maternal vitamin D status and peak bone mass of offspring in 341 mother and offspring pairs in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. Maternal serum samples collected at 18 weeks gestation were assayed for 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD). Outcomes were total body bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry in offspring at 20 years of age. The mean (± SD) maternal serum 25OHD concentration was 57.2 ± 19.2 nmol/L; 132 women (38.7%) were vitamin D-deficient (25OHD <50 nmol/L).

After adjustment for season of sample collection, maternal factors and offspring factors (sex, birth weight, and age, height, lean mass and fat mass at 20 years), maternal 25OHD concentration was positively associated with total body BMC and BMD in offspring, with a mean difference of

  • 19.2 g (95% CI 5.6, 32.7) for BMC and
  • 4.6 mg/cm2 (95% CI 0.1, 9.1) for BMD per 10.0 nmol/L of maternal 25OHD.

Maternal vitamin D deficiency was associated with 2.7% lower total body BMC (mean ± SE: 2846 ± 20 vs 2924 ± 16 g, P = 0.004) and 1.7% lower total body BMD (1053 ± 7 vs 1071 ± 5 mg/cm2, P = 0.043) in the offspring.

We conclude that vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women is associated with lower peak bone mass in their children.
This may increase fracture risk in the offspring in later life.
© 2013 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research


See also VitaminDWiki


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