Posts Tagged ‘
vitamin D ’
Monday, June 30th, 2014
The number of pregnant women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes is on the rise–recent data from the CDC reported that 1 in 10 pregnant women has the condition. Those women may be relieved to learn of a small but promising new study that has found that taking certain supplements–vitamin D and calcium, specifically–can actually lower blood sugar readings and improve other measures of metabolic health that can suffer with gestational diabetes.
The study, which was conducted in Iran, was published in the journal Diabetologia and compared blood levels of women with gestational diabetes, some of whom had been given vitamin D and calcium supplements, and some of whom were given placebo pills. The New York Times has more on the findings–and a cautious word from the researchers:
In the supplement group, fasting blood glucose and cholesterol levels improved, measures that deteriorated in the placebo group. There was no effect on triglyceride levels.
The senior author, Dr. Ahmad Esmaillzadeh, an associate professor at the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, said that these supplements are not suitable for all women.
“Vitamin D has some toxic effects on women and their babies, so we cannot recommend that all women should take it,” he said. “But we can recommend it for people with gestational diabetes who are vitamin D deficient.”
Image: Pregnant woman holding supplements, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
Mothers who have low vitamin D levels while they are pregnant may face more cavities when their kids are toddlers, according to a new study conducted by Canadian researchers. More from Reuters:
Previous studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency among mothers can lead to defects in the enamel of their toddlers’ teeth – which have already begun to develop in the womb – and that these defects can increase the risk of tooth decay.
Dr. Robert J. Schroth from University of Manitoba’s dental school in Winnipeg and his team wondered whether low vitamin D levels in mothers during pregnancy would also translate into higher cavity rates for their toddlers.
They measured vitamin D levels in the second or early third trimester in 207 pregnant women and then examined the teeth of 135 of their children when they were an average of 16 months old. Mothers-to-be were recruited from a predominantly poor, urban area.
Women’s vitamin D levels were mostly in the normal range, but about a third had levels that were too low.
Depending on what definition of cavities the researchers used, 23 to 36 percent of the toddlers had cavities.
Prenatal vitamin D levels were significantly lower in women whose toddlers later had cavities than in women whose toddlers did not have cavities, according to findings published Monday in Pediatrics.
In fact, there was a direct relationship between low vitamin D levels in mothers and higher numbers of cavities in their toddlers.
Besides low vitamin D levels in mothers, defects in the tooth enamel were also associated with cavities in kids.
The researchers believe that improving nutrition during tooth formation and in early childhood could reduce the risk of cavities. They say, “Prevention efforts should begin during pregnancy by bolstering maternal nutrition, either through improved dietary intake or supplementation with vitamin D.”
Image: Toddler at the dentist, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
A new Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine study reveals that the estimated number of children who are thought to have low levels of vitamin D is significantly fewer than what previous studies indicated. New Institute of Medicine guidelines state that people get enough vitamin D if their blood levels are at or above 20 nanograms per milliliter, whereas previously it was thought to be 30 nanograms per milliliter. With these new guidelines, Loyola researchers found the percentage of kids at risk for vitamin D deficiencies to be 10 percent. More from LoyolaMedicine.org:
Loyola researchers studied vitamin D data from a nationally representative sample of 2,877 U.S. children and adolescents ages 6 to 18 who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The study found that under the Institute of Medicine guidelines, 10.3 percent of children ages 6 to 18 are at risk of inadequate or deficient vitamin D levels. (This translates to an estimated 5.5 million children.)
By comparison, a 2009 study in the journal Pediatrics, which defined sufficient vitamin D levels as greater than 30 ng/mL, found that an estimated 70 percent of people ages 1 to 21 had deficient or insufficient vitamin D levels.
Under previous guidelines, millions of children who had vitamin D levels between 20 and 30 ng/mL would have needed supplementation. Under the Institute of Medicine guidelines, children in this range no longer need to take vitamin D supplements.
The Institute of Medicine’s new vitamin D guidelines are based on nearly 1,000 published studies and testimony from scientists and other experts. The IOM found that vitamin D is essential to avoid poor bone health, such as rickets. But there have been conflicting and mixed results in studies on whether vitamin D can also protect against cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and diabetes. Moreover, excessive vitamin D can damage the kidneys and heart, the IOM found.
Stay on top of your child’s health with this vaccine schedule.
Image via Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Low levels of vitamin D may raise the risk that women will develop uterine fibroids, which are benign tumors that can cause discomfort and bleeding. The New York Times reports on the new study, published in the journal Epidemiology, that makes the connection:
Researchers randomly selected 620 black and 410 white women, ages 35 to 49, and determined their vitamin D levels with blood tests and their health status with questionnaires. Their analysis appears in the May issue of Epidemiology.
About two-thirds of the women had fibroid tumors. In the entire group, only 10 percent of the black women and 50 percent of white women had vitamin D levels above 20 nanograms per milliliter, generally considered an adequate level.
After adjusting for age, physical activity, sun exposure and other variables, they found that having a vitamin D level above 20 decreased the risk for fibroids by 32 percent, and that each increase of 10 nanograms per milliliter in vitamin D was associated with a 20 percent lower risk of having a fibroid tumor.
Image: Vitamin D supplements, via Shutterstock
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Friday, February 17th, 2012
Pregnant women with low levels of vitamin D in their second trimester may set their child up for language impairments, according to a new study in the online edition of Pediatrics.
Researchers found that women with the lowest levels of vitamin D in their blood when they were 18 weeks pregnant were almost twice as likely to have a child with language problems as women with the highest vitamin D levels.
The researchers looked at vitamin D levels in 743 pregnant women in Australia. After the women gave birth, researchers measured their child’s behavior at ages 2, 5, 8, 10, 14 and 17, and their language development at ages 5 and 10.
The study found that vitamin D levels during pregnancy weren’t linked to behavioral or emotional problems in the children. But researchers did find significant language difficulties among children whose mothers had low vitamin D.
The scientists say this doesn’t prove that low levels of the vitamin caused the difficulties, but it points to a “plausible association” that needs further study, Reuters reports.
Lead researcher Andrew Whitehouse of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research at the University of Western Australia says that vitamin D levels in pregnant women have dropped over the last 20 years, probably because they spend less time in the sun, HealthDay News reports. The body makes vitamin D in the skin when it’s exposed to sunlight.
The researchers say vitamin D supplements could help. Vitamin D is also found in foods such as milk, fish, and eggs.
Image: Pregnant belly via Shutterstock.
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