Lack of Vitamin D since birth to early childhood is linked to hypertension in adults. However, it remains unclear to what degree vitamin D status in early life can affect blood pressure (BP) a decade later. A new study is determined to investigate the effect of vitamin D trajectory through early life on systolic BP (SBP) in childhood.
Scientists found that lack of vitamin D since birth to early childhood is associated with an increased risk of elevated blood pressure in later childhood and adolescence.
Scientists accessed 775 kids from birth to age 18 at the Boston Medical Center. Most lived in a low-income, urban area, and 68% of the kids were African American. Low vitamin D levels were characterized as under 11 ng/ml (nanograms per millimeter) in line blood during childbirth and under 25 ng/ml in a child’s blood during early childhood.
The study suggested that
- Children born with low levels of vitamin D had an approximately 60% higher risk of elevated systolic blood pressure between ages 6 and 18
- Children who had persistently low levels of vitamin D through early childhood had double the chance of elevated systolic blood pressure between ages 3 and 18.
- Systolic refers to the first or top number in a blood pressure reading. It indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when your heart beats. High systolic blood pressure readings increase the risk of cardiovascular disease even when diastolic blood pressure, the second number in a blood pressure reading, is controlled.
Guoying Wang, M.D., Ph.D., the study’s lead author and an assistant scientist at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland said, “Currently, there are no recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to screen all pregnant women and young children for vitamin D levels. Our findings raise the possibility that screening and treatment of vitamin D deficiency with supplementation during pregnancy and early childhood might be an effective approach to reduce high blood pressure later in life.”
“what constitutes optimal circulating vitamin D levels during pregnancy and early childhood remains an active research question, and that their study results need to be replicated in other large populations.”
The research is published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.