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Vitam Horm. 2011;86:239-60. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-386960-9.00010-1.

Maternal vitamin D during pregnancy and its relation to immune-mediated diseases in the offspring.

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Division of Nutrition, Department of Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is fairly common in many parts of the world. However, currently there is no consensus on the optimal vitamin D intake during pregnancy. Vitamin D is known to be of great importance for the homeostatic functions within the immune system. Maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy may therefore affect the developing immune system of the fetus, thus contributing to the later development of immune-mediated diseases. This chapter introduces the basics of vitamin D during pregnancy and discusses the role of maternal vitamin D intake in the development of asthma, allergic diseases, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and infections in the offspring. So far, the strongest observational evidence underlines the potential of maternal vitamin D intake during pregnancy to influence the likelihood of asthma and allergic outcomes in the offspring. Somewhat conflicting findings imply that there might be critical time windows of exposure to adequate vitamin D levels during pregnancy. More research is needed in order to fully understand the contribution of maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy to the progress of immune-mediated diseases.

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