Taking Vitamin D during pregnancy can prevent asthma and respiratory infections in children, says a study published in thejournal of allergy and clinical immunology.
Conducted by a team at King’s College London, the research covered 51 women who were randomly assigned to take high or low doses of vitamin D supplements between 10 and 18 weeks of pregnancy.
Around half the women were given the recommended daily intake of 400 IU of vitamin D during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and the remainder took a high dose of 4,400 IU.
Subsequently, samples of all the women’s umbilical cord blood were analysed to assess the effectiveness of the newborn babies’ immune systems.
The findings showed that blood samples from babies born to mothers who had taken the higher doses of vitamin D responded better when exposed to simulations of pathogens.
The researchers say future studies should examine the long-term impact on the immunity of the baby.
Samantha Walker, director of research and policy at Asthma UK, said, “Vitamin D is a promising area of research for asthma. However, this study is just the first step of many needed to explore this topic.
“Although this study shows that vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy may improve immune responses, much more research is needed to prove whether this does in fact lead to reduced asthma rates later in life.”