Scientific research has previously shown that vitamin D play’s a critical role in fetal development. A recent study went the extra mile and discovered that vitamin D might be responsible for intellectual development.
Researchers from the Seattle Children’s Research Institute recently conducted a study in which they sought to understand how Vitamin D affects fetal development. The study findings were recently published in the Journal of Nutrition. The researchers found that pregnant women provide vitamin D to their unborn children and it helps in regulating various processes such as brain development.
The data revealed that there was a correlation between the level of vitamin D that the mother has during pregnancy and the IQ of the children that they gave birth to. The researchers concluded that vitamin D is important for the development of children because it may help increase their IQ. The researchers also found that pregnant black women had the lowest vitamin D levels.
“Melanin pigment protects the skin against sun damage, but by blocking UV rays, melanin also reduces vitamin D production in the skin, stated,” stated Melissa Melough who was the lead author in the study.
Dr. Melough also said that a huge part of the population has demonstrated a lack of enough vitamin D and this is particularly the case for many pregnant women. The lead author hopes that the study will be an important tool in guiding dietary needs, especially in pregnant women. She also noted that it addresses the IQ figures where black women are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency.
The connection between vitamin D deficiency and black women
Melough noted that black women lack enough vitamin D because of the melanin pigments in their skin shield from sun damage by blocking UV rays. However, the melanin also reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D to match the required levels. Many women consume prenatal vitamins including vitamin D during pregnancy to aid neurocognitive development but this might not be enough to address the existing deficiency.
Melough recommends that healthcare practitioners should focus more on determining if people, especially women are at risk of vitamin D deficiency. This information would go a long way in ensuring that women adjust their vitamin D intake before they get pregnant.