A recent study by the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) confirms that newborn babies low blood levels of Vitamin D are more prone to contracting respiratory infections, as well as wheezing and asthma.
Vitamin D is naturally abundant from sunlight, and it helps fortify the immune system, along with other factors for body development.
Around 1,000 children were studied in Wellington and Christchurch, using data provided by the New Zealand Asthma and Allergy Cohort Study.
Umbilical cord samples were needed for the study, as well as questionnaires filled up by the mothers, answering questions pertaining to the frequency of wheezing, any diagnosis of asthma three months or 15 months later, as well as every year until the child turned five years old.
The umbilical cord samples were tested for the level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D – a form of measurement for Vitamin D levels.
It was found that one fifth of the newborn babies had low levels of Vitamin D, making them twice at risk for respiratory infection.
One of the studies of Carlos Camargo, M.D., Dr Ph from MGH, revealed that babies born from women who took Vitamin D supplements during pregnancy were at less risk to developing wheezing during their childhood. However, the children in the study derived their Vitamin D primarily from sunlight.
“There's a likely difference here between what causes asthma and what causes existing asthma to get worse,” added Camargo.
Camargo further advises pregnant women on the importance of Vitamin D, which is also found in certain foods such as cow’s milk and other dairy products. It is also passed to the child via breastfeeding.
SOURCES: • December 27, 2010. “Low Vitamin D Levels in Newborns Rise Respiratory Infections Risk” news.softpedia.com • Summer. December 28, 2010. “Low Vitamin D Levels Increase Risk of Illness” Growingyourbaby.com