A new British study that is published in British Journal of Nutrition shows that getting too little vitamin D during pregnancy has a negative effect on the social development and motor skills of the toddler. Vitamin D is believed to play a role in brain development. It is vital for the pregnant mother to pay careful attention to getting enough vitamin D all year round, as our modern lifestyle with indoor activities, our frequent use of sunscreen with high sun factor, being overweight, and having dark skin contribute to the widespread deficiency of this nutrient.
B vitamins are water-soluble and because they do not get stored in the body, we humans depend on regular intake of them. B vitamins work in synergy in a highly complicated teamwork setup. They take part in most of the body's enzymatic processes, some more actively than others. The uptake of B vitamins depends on gastric acid and digestion.
The mineral chromium is found in various forms. Hexavalent chromium is used for industrial purposes such as chrome plating, tanning of hides, dyes, wood protection etc. This form of chromium is toxic and may cause contact dermatitis and certain cancer forms. Trivalent chromium, on the other hand, is found in biological matter such as plants and animals and is an essential nutrient. As the body's need for chromium is rather small, this nutrient is characterised as a trace element. The body stores around 4-6 mg of chromium.
According to a study from Columbia University’s College of Dental Medicine and Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, there are certain compounds in fish oil that can prevent pregnancy complications that follow in the wake of a regular bacterial infection. These complications include miscarriage, preterm delivery, and infant death. There are an estimated 15 million premature deliveries per year on a global scale, and each year around one million babies die as a result of this. Preterm infants also have an increased risk of vision impairment, retarded physical development, and learning disabilities. The researchers therefore suggest new strategies for recommending nutritional supplements and fish oil supplements during pregnancy.
A new study links thyroid disorders to female infertility. At the same time, it is known that selenium, an essential micronutrient, is required for normal functioning of the thyroid gland. Modern diets are depleted of selenium and the question is: Could selenium supplements be a good place to begin for infertile couples before embarking on expensive IVF therapy?
The need for the trace element selenium is increased in pregnant and breastfeeding women because it supports a host of different proteins that are particularly important for tissue growth. Also, selenium supports different antioxidants that protect the unborn baby’s organs and tissues. A new review article published in Nutrients shows that lack of selenium during pregnancy may result in oxidative stress, stunted growth, and low birth weight. This may eventually have consequences for the baby’s development, cognitive skills, and health in general. The authors also mention that an expecting mother’s alcohol abuse may have a more negative health impact if she is selenium-deficient. It is a problem that selenium deficiency is such a widespread problem in Europe and other parts of the world.
If you are pregnant it may be wise to eat salmon. According to a new study it lowers your child's risk of developing asthma, which is a rather common ailment. But what is it in salmon that prevents asthma, and what about those who dislike the taste of fish?
Women who are overweight before becoming pregnant have an increased risk of abnormal fetal growth and low birth weight. However, it appears that fish oil supplementation can lower the risk of these complications, according to a new pilot study that is published in the science journal, Nutrients. The scientists behind the study explain how omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil support a healthy pregnancy and help control inflammation, insulin sensitivity, and lipid metabolism, all of which tend to be off balance in overweight pregnant women.
- and being overweight poses a particular risk
Premature delivery increases the baby’s risk of being born with developmental disturbances or dying within its first months of life. It is commonly known that omega-3 fatty acids are important for normal pregnancy. According to a new and updated Cochrane review article, overweight people are at increased risk of lacking omega-3 fatty acids, and supplementing with omega-3 may lower their risk of giving birth too soon. Although the new study supports earlier research, there was something that surprised the scientists.
Asthma is the leading disease among children and adolescents in the Western world, and the rate has been going up for the past 20 years. A new Danish study that is published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that pregnant women who take supplements of fish oil are much less likely to give birth to children that develop asthma later on. The question is how much fish oil it takes to obtain the positive effect.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential, as they are needed to make cell membranes and support a host of biochemical functions. During pregnancy, there is a particular need for the two omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA to support the growth and brain development of the child. Fish oil is a good source of these two fatty acids, and supplementing with them in the third trimester can prolong the pregnancy and increase birth weight, according to a Scandinavian study published in Journal of Nutrition. The study supports earlier studies of pregnant women, where it has been shown that fish oil lowers the risk of preterm delivery and complications such as development of disorders and death.
There are several reasons why pregnant women have an increased need for folic acid. Overweight women should even pay special attention, as folic acid reduces their risk of having babies who are also overweight. This was seen in a new American study that got published in JAMA Pediatrics.
Folic acid is important for fetal growth and development, and that is why pregnant women have an increased need for the nutrient. It is commonly known that supplementation with folic acid during pregnancy lowers the risk of spina bifida. A new study shows that maternal intake of folic acid in the late part of pregnancy is of vital importance for the baby’s lingual development at the age of two years. This was shown in a study that is published in Epidemiology. Unfortunately, many pregnant women forget to take their folic acid supplements.
Folic acid plays a role in tissue growth and fetal development during pregnancy. A new study that was presented at an annual congress for British psychologists in Brighton shows that folic acid supplements may even improve the child’s psychological development. This is vital for the child’s ability to handle his or her own feelings and managing socially.
- for pregnant women and others
Folic acid supplements are typically recommended to people with anemia and to expecting mothers. However, folic acid supplements can also be important for the cardiovascular system, the brain and memory, and for preventing stroke. The widespread lack of this nutrient is a result of poor diets, pregnancy, ageing, alcohol abuse, and the consumption of birth control pills and various types of medicine.
Intake of fish during pregnancy benefits the child’s metabolism, blood sugar, and weight later in life
Fish is good source of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that are important for normal development of the fetus. Still, there has been a lot of discussion about whether or not pregnant women should eat fish, as this is also a source of mercury and other environmental toxins. A whole new study shows that pregnant women who eat moderate amounts of fish tend to give birth to children with a lower risk of diabetes and overweight later in life compared with women that eat very little fish or none at all. Beware that fish often contains mercury but it also contains selenium, which has a protective effect.
Iron is one of most important trace elements because of its role in the hemoglobin of the red blood cells that deliver oxygen to all cells and tissues in the body. Around two thirds of the body's total iron supply is found in the red blood cells and in muscle tissue. Around a third of our iron is stored in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow where the red blood cells are produced. A very small amount is used in vital enzymes in the brain, among other places. The organism has a limited ability to excrete iron through the intestinal system, the bile, the urine, and the skin. Moreover, iron is excreted through menstrual blood and breastmilk. An adult contains around 3-6 grams of iron. One litre of blood contains around 500 mg of iron. It is iron that gives blood its red colour, and the oxygenated blood in our arteries is lighter than the deoxygenated blood in our veins.
Recent studies show a possible relation betwen too little vitamin D and the risk of developing autism. It is also alarming that many children are born with too little vitamin D or develop a deficiency later in life, as vitamin D controls numerous processes in the human brain.
An increasing number of young women risk giving birth to babies with an insufficiently developed mental capacity due to iodinedeficiency. The deficiency may be a result of nutrient-depleted soil and altered diets with fewer iodine-containing animal sources. Also, many people have a preference for sea salt and Himalayan salt rather than iodine-enriched salt. Iodine deficiency appears to be most prevalent among women who eat plant-based vegan diets, but it is also seen among women with normal diets that include meat. This was demonstrated in a study from the University of South Australia. The challenge for pregnant women is to get adequate amounts of iodine and to find iodine-enriched table salt that has proper quality and does not contain anti-caking agents such as aluminum.
Many women gain weight during pregnancy and have great difficulty with losing the excess pounds afterwards. According to a new study that was presented at an international endocrinology conference, a possible explanation may be lack of vitamin B12, which is a nutrient that helps the body metabolize fat. The researchers therefore suggest that it may be a good idea to take a vitamin B12 supplement during pregnancy, as overweight may eventually lead to health problems such as type 2 diabetes. There can also be emotional consequences of being overweight.
Expecting mothers should pay careful attention to getting enough vitamin D all year round, especially because vitamin D deficiencies are so commonplace, to begin with. Lack of vitamin D at birth and the first years of life is associated with an increased risk of infant hypertension, and the problem can even continue to adulthood. This was shown in a study that is published in the science journal Hypertension. The researchers advise pregnant women to have their vitamin D levels measured, and they even recommend vitamin D supplements for pregnant women and children as a way of preventing elevated blood pressure later in life.
Lack of vitamin D during pregnancy and the baby’s first years of life increases the risk of asthma and allergy
The number of small children affected by asthma and allergy is a growing worldwide problem. Vitamin D deficiency is also an increasing problem among pregnant women and newborn babies. Vitamin D is important for a well-functioning immune defense and for that reason, a team of Dutch scientists have looked closer at the relation in a review article. They conclude that having sufficient vitamin D in the blood during pregnancy and the first years of life can lower the risk of developing asthma and allergies. The scientists also observed that vitamin D supplements can lessen the burden of these widespread diseases. Their study is published in Nutrients.
The number of children and adolescents with ADHD has skyrocketed in the past decade, and the human and socioeconomic costs are enormous. A major cause may be the widespread problems with vitamin D deficiency, according to a study from Turku University in Finland. It does not make things any easier that sun awareness campaigns fail to give people an alternative way of getting enough vitamin D all year around, and it is also a problem that many pregnant women don’t take their supplements as recommended.
- especially among boys
Vitamin D controls a variety of processes in the brain and that is important for the child in a number of different ways. According to a new study from University of Queensland, Australia, there is an increased risk of autism – especially among boys – if the mother lacks vitamin D during her pregnancy. The explanation lies in the fact that the vitamin deficiency can affect levels of sex hormones in the brain. Several studies link vitamin D deficiency to autism and show that vitamin D supplements can improve hyperactivity and other signs of impaired functioning in children with autism.
It has long been known that vitamin D deficiencies increase the risk of sclerosis. According to a study that is published in JAMA Neurology, having too little vitamin D is even a problem during pregnancy, as it increases the child's risk of developing sclerosis later in life.
A team of scientists from Oregon State University in the United States has managed to explain why lack of vitamin E may cause neurological damage to the developing fetus, and why it increases the risk of spontaneous miscarriage. Their study is published in the science journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine and here, the scientists underline how important it is for both women who are pregnant and those plan pregnancy to get enough vitamin E.
Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy disorder with elevated blood pressure, proteinuria, and life-threatening complications in severe cases. It has already been reported that folic acid supplements help prevent preeclampsia in pregnancy. According to a new study that is published in Pregnancy Hypertension, taking even larger quantities of folic acid seem to offer additional protection. Unfortunately, many pregnant women forget to take folic acid supplements that are normally recommended as a way of avoiding spina bifida.
Fewer children have eczema around the age of 12 months if their mothers had higher levels of a particular B vitamin during pregnancy, according to a new study from the University of Southampton.
Magnesiumplays a role in a variety of enzyme processes that are involved in 80 percent of the body’s metabolic functions, and a magnesium deficiency can affect different genes and diseases. Such deficiencies are very common, especially among women. A Russian study of pregnant women and women with different types of hormonal imbalances shows that four weeks of magnesium supplementation can improve health and quality of life by several parameters.
Preeclampsia is a precursor of eclampsia, a condition characterized by spasms and seizures that can be life-threatening for the expecting mother and her unborn child. According to a new review article that is published in the science journal Cureus, injections of magnesium sulfate have been tested as part of the treatment for severe preeclampsia and related spasms. This therapy form has also been introduced in Denmark. It is important during pregnancy to get enough magnesiumto prevent eclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a precursor of eclampsia, a condition characterized by spasms and seizures that can be life-threatening for the expecting mother and her unborn child. According to a new review article that is published in the science journal Cureus, injections of magnesium sulfate have been tested as part of the treatment for severe preeclampsia and related spasms. This therapy form has also been introduced in Denmark. It is important during pregnancy to get enough magnesium to prevent eclampsia.
During pregnancy, the unborn child is totally dependent on the mother’s vitamin D status. Vitamin D is primarily known for its role in supporting bone development. However, the vitamin is also of vital importance to the child’s brain, cognitive skills, and intelligence. According to a new, American study that is published in The Journal of Nutrition, this is why it is so important for pregnant women to have optimal vitamin D levels in their blood. The researchers point to the fact that vitamin D deficiencies are rather common and mention that they observed significantly lower blood levels of the nutrient in pregnant women of color. They hope their study can contribute to increased focus on the benefits of vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy.
- and improve their cognition and motor skills
According to a large meta-analysis, supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids has a positive effect on children by improving their vision, their cognition, and their motor skills. Unfortunately, modern diets provide far too little omega-3. For that reason, health authorities should consider recommending supplements of purified fish oil for pregnant women and children, just like they recommend folic acid, iron, and vitamin D.
Overweight or obesity during pregnancy is linked to low vitamin D levels. This negatively affects the health of the expecting mother, and in the long run it increases the child's risk of weak bones, overweight, type-2 diabetes, and allergies.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the leading cause of infertility and hormone disturbances in women of childbearing age. The condition is often a result of insulin resistance, an imbalance in the sugar metabolism that is typically accompanied by fatigue, abdominal obesity (apple-shaped body), overweight, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. It makes perfect sense to stick with a blood sugar-stabilizing diet and to include a chromium supplement that increases insulin sensitivity and helps, indirectly, regulate the hormone balance. As a bonus effect, it becomes a lot easier to obtain and maintain your ideal weight.
- but dietary and lifestyle changes make a difference
Approximately one in seven couple is childless. Although there can be many underlying causes, poor sperm quality is an increasing problem. It may be caused by a lack of certain nutrients and exposure to different environmental factors, but, fortunately, it possible to improve sperm quality and increase the chances of conception by means of relevant dietary adjustments and the use of specific supplements. New research shows that epigenetic factors (factors that affect the environment of the sperm cell) determine sperm health and are therefore crucial for activating the genes of the sperm cell so the fetus can develop.
Pregnant women are advised not to smoke, as this may harm the unborn baby. However, not all pregnant smokers are able to quit their habit. A new American study shows that vitamin C supplementation can reduce the risk to the baby’s lungs and improve the baby’s breathing.
Yet another example of how vitamin D affects more than strong bones. A study has shown that babies whose mothers took vitamin D during pregnancy had a stronger hand grip and greater muscle mass. This improved muscle strength may also be able to improve their health later in life.
During pregnancy, the unborn child needs different nutrients for proper development of its brain and nervous system. Even if the mother eats a balanced diet, it can be difficult to get enough selenium for a number of reasons. In a new Italian animal study that is published in Nutrients, scientists have looked closer at selenium’s role during pregnancy and lactation. They observed that even minor selenium deficiencies can have a negative effect on the offspring’s brain development and behavior. This study supports earlier human studies showing how vital it is for the mother to get plenty of selenium during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
– but what about the mercury? – but what about the mercury?
Oily fish is a great source of the essential omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which are important for the development of the brain and nervous system of the unborn child. Pregnant women with low levels of these two omega-3 fatty acids have a statistically significant increased risk of preterm delivery compared with pregnant women who have high levels of EPA and DHA in their blood. This was shown in a study from SSI in Copenhagen, carried out in collaboration with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, the United States. The problem is that many women are afraid to eat oily fish during their pregnancy because of the risk of mercury poisoning. So which fish are the safest for consumption – and what about fish oil supplements?
It is important for the health of the unborn child that the expecting mother keeps her vitamin D levels high during her entire pregnancy. According to a study from Southampton University, vitamin D supplementation is less effective, if a pregnant woman starts with low levels of vitamin D in the early stage of her pregnancy, has major and sudden weight gain, and gives birth during winter.
Zincis involved in numerous physiological functions, some of which are important for pregnancy and fetal development. However, zinc deficiencies are common, especially in developing countries. Vegans are also at increased risk because it is difficult for the body to absorb zinc from a plant-based diet. Zinc deficiency in connection with pregnancy appears to increase the expecting mother’s risk of developing hypertension, and the elevated blood pressure may result in low birth weight and a low Apgar score, which is a health assessment of the baby in the minutes right after delivery. This was shown in a study that is published in Frontiers in Nutrition.
Q10 is a unique compound with a key role in cellular energy turnover. It also serves as a powerful antioxidant. The body is able to synthesize most of the Q10 that it needs but as we grow older, our endogenous synthesis decreases, making us vulnerable in different ways. Cholesterol-lowering medicine and certain types of disease are also associated with lower levels of Q10 in the body. In a new review article, a group of scientists have scrutinized hundreds of Q10 studies that have been published in the years 2010-2020. They are able to conclude that Q10 is of particular importance to the heart, circulatory system, fertility, muscles, eyes and vision, and the ageing process. Things like migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease are also addressed. The body has difficulty with absorbing Q10 from food and supplements so it is recommendable to always choose a pharmaceutical-grade Q10 preparation with documented bioavailability.
Selenium deficiency in connection with diet, serious illness, and pregnancy increases your risk of autoimmune diseases, slow recovery, life-threatening complications, and miscarriage
Selenium is a trace element with a number of essential functions. An estimated one billion people worldwide get too little dietary selenium. The problem is mainly a result of nutrient-depleted farmland. Moreover, blood levels of selenium drop drastically in connection with COVID-19 infections, serious illness, and pregnancy because the body has an increased need for the nutrient. Altogether, selenium deficiency increases the risk of complicated COVID-19 infections, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, preterm delivery, and miscarriage. Supplementation may help optimize blood levels of selenium, which can be relevant for preventing and treating a number of common diseases, according to an article that is published in International Journal of Medical Sciences.
Folic acid is of vital importance to fetal development which is why pregnant women have a much higher need for this nutrient. Although the Danish health authorities recommend that pregnant take folic acid supplements, some get started too late and others forget to take their supplements. In other countries, it is common practice to enrich flour with folic acid but apparently, the added quantity is insufficient. According to a new British study, many pregnant women still don’t get enough folic acid, which increases their risk of giving birth to a baby with neural tube defects that can lead to severe disabilities. Lack of folic acid can also affect the child’s mental development. The British researchers therefore recommend adding more folic acid to fluor as a way of preventing the birth defects. It’s simple and inexpensive and would also be relevant for Denmark.
Hormonal imbalances have broad implications and increase the risk of chronic fatigue, overweight, impaired fertility, dry mucosa, hot flushes, slow metabolism, breast cancer, and many other problems. Lack of essential nutrients contributes to such disruptions of the sensitive hormone system. This is also the case with hormone-disrupting compounds.
More and more people get autism. The disease is linked to, among other things, lack of zincin the childhood. Although it has still not been proved, whether zinc deficiencies during pregnancy can cause autism, scientists have discovered a link between zinc, genes, and the abnormal neurological connections that are associated with autism. The scientists therefore see a whole new potential for treating the condition, but one must also take into account other factors in the environment.
Selenium is an essential trace element that supports a host of different proteins and antioxidants that are important for pregnancy. According to a new Norwegian population study that is published in the science journal Nutrients, lack of selenium during pregnancy may stunt the growth of the fetus and result in low birth weight. This may have consequences for the child’s growth, cognitive skills, and health. Selenium deficiencies are rather common in Norway and the rest of Europe and that is a problem.
Vitamin D is of vital importance to the unborn child’s development of teeth, bones, immune defense, and various other things. The fetus is highly dependent on the mother’s vitamin D levels and that the nutrient can be transferred to the fetus and activated. A team of scientists has looked closer at the placenta and its role in helping the fetus utilize vitamin D. They hope their work can contribute to healthier pregnancies in the future.
People in the Western part of the world consume far too much omega-6, primarily in the form of linoleic acid from vegetable oils and processed foods such as margarine, fries, chips, and ready meals. A new study that is published in The Journal of Physiology shows that this may be harmful during pregnancy and can increase the risk of complications and developmental disorders in the baby.
Earlier studies show that consuming too much omega-6 increases the risk of inflammation and cardiovascular disease. And it is essential to balance your intake of omega-3 and omega-6, whether you are pregnant or not.
During pregnancy, vitamin D plays an important role in the bone development of the unborn child, in the brain, and in other functions. Maternal lack of vitamin D during pregnancy may therefore have serious consequences for the fetus and its development. This also goes for the development of neurons in the dopamine-producing area of the brain, which can most likely result in dysfunctions of the dopamine balance, a problem that is seen in young individuals and adults with schizophrenia. This was demonstrated in a new study that is published in Journal of Neurochemistry. The study supports an earlier review article where it was seen that early stages of psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are linked to severe deficiencies of vitamin D and other nutrients with vital importance to brain health, especially during pregnancy.
- especially babies of color
Vitamin D is vital for normal development of the baby’s bones, cognitive skills, IQ, immune defense, and a number of other things. According to a new British study, however, a third of white infants lack vitamin D. The problem is even more pronounced in dark-skinned babies. Here, around half of them lack vitamin D. More focus is needed on pregnant women from exposed groups to help ensure that they get adequate amounts of the nutrient.
Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a widespread problem and a huge burden to both the child and its parents. According to a new study that is published in British Journal of Dermatology, high-dosed vitamin D supplementation of the mother during her pregnancy lowers the child’s risk of developing eczema within its first year of life. The pregnant women in the study got 25 micrograms of vitamin D daily, which is more than twice the amount that is currently recommended to expecting mothers. Health authorities already recommend all-year vitamin D supplementation to children up to the age of four years, so it appears that this measure can offer additional protection against eczema.
There is an increasing amount of science that links lack of vitamin D to autism. In a new study, 109 autistic children were given either a vitamin D supplement or placebo. According to the lead researcher, Dr. Khaled Saad, there was a distinct improvement in autism symptoms such as hyperactivity, social reclusion, and other function impairments in the children who took supplements of vitamin D, but not in the placebo group. The study is published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (2016).
It is alarming that many babies are born with a vitamin D deficiency, or become vitamin D deficient later in life. The nutrient controls numerous processes in the brain – including gene control and regulation of serotonin (neurotransmitter) levels and inflammation processes.
Zinc is a trace element that is found in all cells and body fluids. Zinc is essential for normal functioning of around 200 different enzymes that control growth, metabolism, the nervous system, the immune function, and a variety of other functions. Most of our zinc is found in muscle tissue and bone tissue and there is a rather large zinc concentration in the prostate gland and in the choroidal membrane of the eye. Around 11% of our zinc is found in the skin and liver. An adult contains 2-4 grams of zinc. We are only able to absorb 10-30% of the zinc that we get from our diet, and there are several factors that can either increase or decrease zinc absorption.
- here is a check list of typical signs and diseases
An estimated two billion people worldwide lack zinc. The essential trace element is involved in more than 1,000 different enzyme processes, besides being a powerful antioxidant that protects the body’s cells. Even minor zinc deficiencies can lead to impaired digestion, infections, skin problems, fatigue, impaired fertility, and DNA damage. Such deficiencies can eventually increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. People with unhealthy diets, vegetarians, vegans, older people, and pregnant and breastfeeding women are at particular risk of lacking zinc. Even if your diet provides sufficient amounts of zinc, different factors can affect the uptake and utilization of the nutrient, thereby increasing your body’s actual need.
Once the sperm cell has penetrated the egg cell, sparks fly from zinc atoms in a fascinating fireworks display. This new discovery may help fertility doctors select the most best eggs for in-vitro fertilization (IVF). The discovery also has relevance for all others who wish a successful pregnancy. It all boils down to having adequate zinc stores in the body.