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Month of Conception May Affect Risk of Learning Disabilities in Children

Lack of sunlight during the months of January, February and March tend to result in lower levels of vitamin D. A recent study suggests that lower levels of vitamin D in pregnant women may be associated with certain learning disabilities in children.


For this study, researchers examined data on 801,592 Scottish schoolchildren who attended school between 2006 and 2011. They noted the birth months of all of the children and compared that data to information about their educational needs.


The birth months of the children were important because our primary source of vitamin D is the sun and the UK has low levels of sun in winter months, making it difficult for people to get sufficient vitamin D.


The researchers found that 8.9% of children conceived in the first quarter of January to March needed extra assistance in school, compared with 7.6% who were conceived in the third quarter of July to September. They also found seasonal variations associated with autistic spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities, and dyslexia. They did not note any correlation between month of conception and sensory or motor/physical impairments or mental, physical, or communication problems.


The researchers found that seasonal variations could account for 11.4% of all cases of children needing extra assistance.


Researchers from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing conducted the study. It was published August 23, 2016, in the American Journal of Epidemiology.


Previous studies have associated vitamin D with reducing the risk of skin damage, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, combating diabetes, and improving age related macular degeneration.


Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.

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