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Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Oct;92(4):741-7. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2010.29475. Epub 2010 Jul 28.

Effect of maternal calcium supplementation on offspring blood pressure in 5- to 10-y-old rural Gambian children.

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Medical Research Council International Nutrition Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.



Evidence suggests that increased maternal calcium intake during pregnancy may result in lower offspring blood pressure, prompting calls for more robust data in this field, particularly in settings of habitually low calcium intake.


The objective was to investigate the effect of maternal calcium supplementation on blood pressure in offspring by recruiting children born after a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of calcium supplementation during pregnancy.


Children (n = 389) from a rural area of The Gambia (mean age: 7.4 ± 1.2 y; range: 5-10 y), whose mothers received a calcium supplement (1500 mg Ca/d from 20 wk of gestation until delivery) or placebo, were followed up in West Africa. Blood pressure was assessed under standardized conditions with use of the Omron 705IT automated oscillometric device (Morton Medical Ltd, London, United Kingdom), and anthropometric and body composition (bioelectrical impedance) measurements were also made.


The analysis was restricted to 350 children born at term, which represented 64% of original trial births. There was no difference in systolic (adjusted mean difference: -0.04 mm Hg; 95% CI: -1.78, 1.69 mm Hg) or diastolic (adjusted mean difference: 0.25 mm Hg; 95% CI: -1.27, 1.77 mm Hg) blood pressure between children whose mothers had received calcium and those who received placebo. No interaction between childhood body mass index (in kg/m(2); mean: 14.0) and maternal calcium supplementation was observed in this study.


Calcium supplementation in the second half of pregnancy in Gambian women with very low habitual calcium intakes may not result in lower offspring blood pressure at 5-10 y of age.

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