Updated: Feb 19, 2020

Taking prenatal vitamin D supplements has little effect on preventing asthma and recurrent wheezing in young children up to age 6, a new study shows.

The study continues previous research -completed in 2016 - that suggested that prenatal vitamin D supplementation provides a protective effect on asthma in children up to age three.

But the prenatal supplementation with high-dose vitamin D had no impact on asthma and persistent wheezing in 6-year-olds in the follow-up study.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed there was no effect associated with taking vitamin D during pregnancy on either asthma or recurrent wheezing at age 6, suggesting that the earlier reported protective benefit associated with high-dose supplementation was not sustained past the age of 3, the researchers wrote.

In the update, Augusto Litonjua, Professor of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, randomized pregnant women to receive supplementation with either 4,400 IU (high dose) or 400 IU (control dose) of vitamin D3 daily starting in week 10 to 18 of pregnancy. Pregnant women were considered eligible for the trial if either they or the biologic father had asthma, allergic rhinitis, or eczema.

The results of Litonjua’s study show that the protective effects of antenatal vitamin D on Asthma-like symptoms diminished each subsequent year of the child’s life from birth.

Of note, the study design did not include supplementation after birth, and the differences in vitamin D levels equalized in both the control and experimental group from one through six years. While this study indicates that prenatal vitamin D supplementation alone has limited effect on preventing asthma and wheezing in children, a more definitive study design would look at supplements during both the prenatal and postnatal periods.

“Once you start inflammation with asthma it keeps going,” Litonjua says. “Vitamin D tends to stop it, so we would want to study the early effects by providing supplementation during early childhood.”

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Referenzes & Source: University of Rochester

Original Study DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1906137

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