Dhaka, Bangladesh
40pc people suffer from vitamin D deficiency

40pc people suffer from vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D intake in pregnancy won't improve babies' growth

News Desk Although vitamin D intake during pregnancy is believed to help improve the growth of fetus or infant, a recent study revealed its use does not make any difference. The study says in a population with widespread vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and fetal and infant growth restriction, vitamin D supplementation from mid-pregnancy until birth or until 6 months post partum did not improve fetal or infant growth. International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) and Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, in collaboration with the Maternal and Child Health Training Institute of the Bangladesh and with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the USA, conducted the study in Dhaka. During the study, over 1300 pregnant women were brought under trial to see whether vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy and lactation is any impact on child linear growth or not. In the five-year trial, they (the pregnant women) were administered vitamin D in mid-pregnancy in three doses of 28,000 international units (IU), 16,800 IU and 4,200 IU per week for 26 weeks along with 500 mg of calcium, 66 mg of iron and 350 mcg of folic acid every day. Another group of women was not given vitamin D during the same period. But, the study found no difference in the average size of babies for their age, whether their mothers took vitamin D supplements or a placebo during pregnancy. The study showed all trial groups had similar rates of hospitalisation and infant death, and there were no cases of adverse consequences from maternal and/or infant hypercalcemia (excess calcium in blood). Investigators said there were no apparent benefits of improved vitamin D status as they did not find a reduction in the incidence of preterm births. "When children were examined at one year age, no difference in their length for age was found in spite of vitamin D intake, which suggests that supplementation with vitamin D during pregnancy has no impact on child growth," Abdullah Al Mahmud, senior investigator and project coordinator with icddr,b, said on recent webpost. Dr Tahmeed Ahmed, another investigator of the study, said the results of the study further highlight the multifactorial nature of childhood stunting, the exact causes and remedy of which are still elusive. The study found a grave level of vitamin D deficiency and impaired linear growth of children - a condition called stunting - in Bangladesh. One in three children is stunted in Bangladesh while 40 percent of the population suffers from deficiency of vitamin D, which is also believed to cause stunting. In Bangladesh, about 30 percent of newborns are small for gestational age, and the growth of 36 per cent of children younger than 5 years of age is stunted. Vitamin D deficiency is common in Bangladeshi women of reproductive age. Source: Unicef Feature

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