A recent research has shown that children, whose mothers take Vitamin D during pregnancy (with resultant high levels of the vitamin in the umbilical blood) have fewer symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) till the age of two and a half years.
Lead researcher Niels Bilenberg explained, “For every 10 nmol/L increase in the Vitamin D concentration in umbilical blood, the risk of a being among the 10 percent highest score on the ADHD symptom scale fell by 11 percent.”
1,233 children from Odense Municipality in Denmark were monitored in the study.
Vitamin D was measured in umbilical blood and mothers completed the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) of their children below two and a half years.
The CBCL questionnaire can be used to identify early symptoms of ADHD, even though an ADHD diagnosis cannot be made at that age.
“And the trend was clear: those mothers who had taken Vitamin D, and had a vitamin D level (25OHD) in their umbilical blood over 25 nmol/L, had children with lower ADHD scores,” said Bilenberg.
He added, “This was after we had corrected for other factors that could explain the link, such as the mother’s age, smoking, alcohol, obesity, education, number of children, psychiatric disease in the parents, child’s sex, age and seasonal variation.”
The link between Vitamin D and early ADHD symptoms has not been described before.
“We were very surprised that the link was so clear as there was no previous awareness that this link could be identified at such an early age. It’s impossible to say with which children will develop ADHD later on, but it will be interesting to further follow up those children who were at the highest end versus the normal range of the ADHD scale,” said the researcher.
The study, however, offers no explanation as to how Vitamin D can protect against ADHD. But other studies have shown that Vitamin D plays an important role in the early development of the brain.
“We had an idea about it, but we cannot say with certainty that Vitamin D protects against early symptoms of ADHD. Our study only indicates that there is a link that we cannot explain in any other way,” said Aby.
The study was published in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.