University Researchers have found that increased exposure to vitamin D
increases the level of umbilical cord and Zebra fish embryos.
- The study signals
the importance of vitamin D in fetal development and in pregnant women.
- The level of
maternal Vitamin D levels should be studied prior to testing umbilical
cord blood levels
Researchers from The
University of Harvard have found that exposure to Vitamin D increases the number
of stem cells in the umbilical cord of humans as well as in the embryos of
Zebra fish. The study by scientists Trista North and colleagues is published in
the Journal Cell Reports.
The study researchers found that Vitamin D was essential during fetal
development and that optimum levels of vitamin would ensure that blood-related
diseases are prevented at a later stage in life.
‘Importance of Vitamin D starts from fetal development.’
has always been associated with healthy
bone development, but scientists have now found out that vitamin D is essential
for increasing the number of stem cells in the blood, stressing their
importance in health. However, a considerable number of people suffer from
Vitamin D deficiency.
Deficiency of Vitamin D
has been associated with obesity, cancer, precocious puberty
, anemia and
lowered platelet counts.
of Vitamin D
Though there are multiple sources for
vitamin D, there are a number of people who suffer from Vitamin D deficiency
- There is not
enough exposure to the sun's rays as the climate may be very cold like in
- The individual
spends considerable amount of time indoors, limiting exposure to the sun.
- When the
individual is covered completely in sunscreen or in thick clothes that
prevent the entry of sun's rays.
- When the diet is
not sufficiently balanced with food rich
in vitamin D.
skinned people, obese people, pregnant women and children with type 1 diabetes are at a higher risk of
being deficient in Vitamin D.
Dr Trista North said,
"There are global issues with insufficiency of vitamin D and we don't
really have a full appreciation of how that might alter how some of the normal
regulatory programs in our bodies respond. We clearly showed that not getting
enough vitamin D can alter how blood stem cells are formed. Vitamin D was
having a direct response on the blood stem cells and it changed what those
cells did in terms of multiplying and staying alive."
The study by these
researchers from Harvard University adds another facet to the need to maintain
optimum levels of vitamin D in the body, especially for pregnant women. As Dr
North adds, "I think when people start to look at other organ systems and
stem cell populations, it will be interesting to know if doctors start to
recommend anything to help with vitamin D levels in pregnant mothers. This
study was just scratching the surface, and there will be a whole lot more to
The only limitation to
this study is that in the umbilical cord blood samples that were tested, the
researchers were unable to determine if the level of Vitamin D was optimum in
the mothers. The next goal in the current study should be to test the level of
maternal vitamin D levels and then test the level of umbilical cord blood
cells, this will enable a cause-effect relationship.
The study brings to the
fore the importance of vitamin D
in our system and the need to
ensure healthy levels. In the quest to prevent sun tan and the need to cover
the entire body with clothes, there is a risk of losing out on the much needed
vitamin, even in temperate climates where temperatures can be extremely hot.
Tips to Increase
levels of Vitamin D in the Body
- Wear short sleeve
clothes that expose your arms to the sun and help gain the vitamin.
- While it is not
safe to step out in the sun during 11:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m, basking in the
first rays of the sun would be an ideal option.
- Take vitamin D
- Eat foods that
are rich in Vitamin D.
- Am I deficient in vitamin D? - (https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-