Prenatal Vitamin D Supplements Don't Reduce Asthma

No evidence of beneficial effect on asthma, chronic wheezing in two studies

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 27, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- There's been speculation that a daily vitamin D supplement taken in pregnancy might lower the odds for asthma in children. However, two new studies find no evidence for such an effect. Both studies are published in the Jan. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In one study, Hans Bisgaard, M.D., of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues tracked outcomes for 623 pregnant women and their children. The children were followed until they were 3 years old. The researchers found that taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy did not reduce the children's risk of asthma, chronic wheezing, upper and lower respiratory tract infections, or eczema.

The second study included 876 pregnant women deemed to already be at high risk of having children with asthma. Beginning at 10 to 18 weeks of pregnancy, the women started taking either 4,000 IU of vitamin D plus a prenatal vitamin containing 400 IU of vitamin D each day, or a placebo plus a prenatal vitamin containing 400 IU of vitamin D.

The researchers found that by age 3 years, 24.3 percent of the children in the 4,400-IU group and 30.4 percent of those in the 400-IU group developed asthma or chronic wheezing. But, this 6 percent difference was not deemed to be statistically significant, according to the team led by Augusto Litonjua, M.D., M.P.H., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

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