Low maternal vitamin D linked to ADHD risk


  • Heather Mason
  • Univadis Medical News
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A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry demonstrated an association between low maternal 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] during pregnancy and elevated risk of ADHD.

This nested case-control study derived from the database recording all singleton live births in Finland between 1991 and 2005 (n=870,695) and followed up for ADHD diagnosis until 2011.

The risk of ADHD was 65 per cent higher in children from mothers with lower levels of 25(OH)D from the unadjusted analysis and 45 per cent higher from the analyses adjusting for maternal socioeconomic status and age. Analyses by quintiles of maternal 25(OH)D levels in the lowest versus highest quintile revealed an adjusted increased risk of 53 per cent for offspring with ADHD.

This is the first study showing an association between low maternal 25(OH)D level in early pregnancy and an elevated risk for diagnosed ADHD in offspring. The association was observed independently from possible influencing covariates in the statistical analyses. If these findings are confirmed, they may have public health implications for vitamin D supplementation and perhaps a change of lifestyle behaviours during pregnancy to ensure optimal maternal vitamin D levels.