Australia is recognised as having the highest level of skin cancers in the world. It is not a first place we can be proud of. It would tend to indicate that, as a nation, we spend a lot of time in the sun.
However there is strong evidence now emerging that Australians are becoming more and more deficient in Vitamin D.
A new study at Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, in Perth Western Australia has found that this deficiency is also likely to be affecting the language skills of children born from women with it.
The study involved the checking of Vitamin D concentrations in more than 740 pregnant women and then up to 17 years monitoring of the children’s behaviour and development. It found that those mothers with lower Vitamin D levels have a higher likelihood of having children with language difficulties.
“The developing baby is completely reliant on the mother for its Vitamin D levels and what we have shown is that this might have an impact on the child’s brain development,” said Lead author, Associate Professor Andrew Whitehouse.
The next level of the study is the addition of Vitamin D supplements to the diets of pregnant women to determine if there is an improvement in language skills from the original study results.
Whitehouse, A.J.O., Holt, B.J., Serralha, M., Holt, P.G., Kusel, M.M.H., Hart P.H. (in press). “Maternal serum vitamin D levels during pregnancy and offspring neurocognitive development.” Pediatrics.
For more information on the impacts and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/200403/20040311pasco.pdf