Obese pregnant women may want to consider taking additional vitamin D supplements, said a team of US researchers after conducting a small study that found women carrying extra weight may be passing on insufficient levels of vitamin D.
In their study, researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois looked at the vitamin D levels in the cord blood of babies born to 61 obese and lean mothers.
While the subjects had similar levels of vitamin D at the end of their pregnancies, scientists found that obese women transferred less of the sunshine vitamin to their offspring compared to lean women: babies born to lean mothers had one-third more vitamin D.
One possible reason for the deficiency in babies from obese moms? That the vitamin D destined for the baby becomes “sequestered” in the mother’s excess fat.
The research was published last week in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.”
While not much is known about the health risks of babies born with vitamin D deficiency, a slew of studies have found links between low levels of the sunshine vitamin and an increase in autoimmune diseases, inflammation and obesity.
Meanwhile, another study published last year in the journal Neurology found that high levels of vitamin D can help pregnant women protect themselves against developing multiple sclerosis.
And a 2010 study also found that as many as seven out of every 10 pregnant women in the U.S. aren’t getting enough vitamin D and may need supplementation, particularly among women with darker skin and those who live in the northern states.