Maternal gestational vitamin D supplementation may increase whole-body bone mineral density (BMD) in offspring at age 4 years, according to study results presented at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 2019 Annual Meeting, held September 20 to 23 in Orlando, Florida.

The United Kingdom Maternal Vitamin D Osteoporosis Study (MAVIDOS) compared the use of cholecalciferol 1000 IU/d with placebo from 14 weeks gestation to birth. The researchers performed offspring assessments at 4 years of age, including anthropometry, a maternal questionnaire, and whole-body dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in order to collect data on bone mineral content, BMD, bone area, and lean mass. Linear regression was used to estimate the mean difference in outcomes between the groups, adjusted for sex and age.

A total of 564 children attended the visit at year 4 and 452 had a useable DXA scan.

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The results indicated that maternal vitamin D supplementation was linked to increased offspring whole-body (less head) BMD at age 4 years (β=0.18; 95% CI, 0.00-0.35; P =.047). Vitamin D supplementation was also somewhat associated with greater lean mass (β=0.15; 95% CI, -0.02 to 0.31; P =.081).

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After adjusting for gestational age, maternal body mass index, and child’s screen time, the associations remained similar: vitamin D supplementation was associated with increased BMD (β=0.16; 95% CI, -0.01 to 0.34; P =.072) and lean mass (β=0.17; 95% CI, 0.00-0.34; P =.048). Furthermore, while the findings for bone area and bone mineral content were similar, they were less significant.

“Our findings suggest that maternal cholecalciferol supplementation may have lasting benefits for offspring musculoskeletal health,” the researchers wrote.

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Curtis E, Moon R, D’Angelo S, et al. Maternal pregnancy vitamin D supplementation is associated with greater offspring bone mineral density at 4 years: findings from the MAVIDOS trial. Presented at: American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 2019 Annual Meeting; September 20-23, 2019; Orlando, FL. Abstract FRI-73.