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Maternal Vitamin D and its Role in Determining Fetal Origins of Mental Health

[ Vol. 26 , Issue. 21 ]

Author(s):

Giulia Lisi*, Michele Ribolsi, Alberto Siracusano and Cinzia Niolu   Pages 2497 - 2509 ( 13 )

Abstract:


There is evidence that mental health disorders may have roots in fetal life and are associated with deficiencies in various micronutrients, including vitamin D. During pregnancy, vitamin D balance is influenced by an increase in maternal calcitriol and a substantial increase in maternal Vitamin D Binding Protein concentrations. In the early stages of life, vitamin D is necessary to mediate numerous brain processes such as proliferation, apoptosis, and neurotransmission. Furthermore, Vitamin D has a recognized anti-inflammatory activity that normally suppresses inflammation. Increased activation of hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) and inflammation during gestation may influence maternal health and fetal neurodevelopment during and beyond pregnancy. A deficit of Vitamin D and maternal stressful events during gestation, such as perinatal depression, could influence the efficacy of the immune system altering its activity.

Vitamin D deficiency during gestation associated with a reduction in fetal brain development has been widely described and correlated with alteration in the production of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor. To this regard, many studies highlights that low maternal vitamin D dosage during gestation has been related to a significantly greater risk to develop schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses in later life. The objective of this paper is a comprehensive overview of maternal vitamin D balance in determining the fetal origins of mental health with some references to the link between vitamin D levels, inflammatory responses to stress and mental disorders in adult life.

Keywords:

Vitamin D, perinatal depression, pregnancy, neurodevelopment, maternal stress, schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Affiliation:

Department of Systems Medicine University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Department of Systems Medicine University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Department of Systems Medicine University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Department of Systems Medicine University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome



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