Published on March 7, 2019
The “Barker Hypothesis,” also known as the “The Fetal Origins Hypothesis,” theorizes that certain adult-onset diseases originate from nutritional deficiencies during the perinatal period (during pregnancy or in early infancy). These damages are irreversible beyond certain critical points in development, even following full nutrient repletion.
In the publication “Is Vitamin D Inadequacy in Early Life an Instance of the ‘Barker Hypothesis’?“, Dr. Robert Heaney evaluates prenatal vitamin D deficiency as part of the Barker hypothesis, and correlates it to diseases with an onset later in life such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Type 1 Diabetes, Preeclampsia, Schizophrenia, and other cognitive function and learning disabilities.
Dr. Heaney refers to a study by Willer et al. of more than 44,000 adult patients with MS from Canada, the UK, Denmark and Sweden. The chart below presents the ratio of the observed to expected cases of MS by birth month.
Note: If there were no seasonal variation, observed cases would be spread evenly across the year, with each month accounting for approximately 1/12 of the annual total. What we see, however, is a noticeably higher risk of MS observed in individuals born in May (following a winter pregnancy), and a lower risk in individuals born in November (following a summer pregnancy).
Dr. Heaney closes his review with an emphasis that the prenatal vitamin D serum level needed for protection from delayed outcomes such as those described above are physiological levels (40-60 ng/ml) and not pharmacological. Thus, ensuring a vitamin D status of 40-60 ng/ml during pregnancy is a safe protective measure to prevent later-onset diseases, such as MS, originating in a vitamin D deficient perinatal environment.
Read the review published here.
How can I track my vitamin D levels?
To help you track your vitamin D and other nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created an online tracking system called myData-myAnswers. This will help you know how your supplementation and intake may be affecting you and impacting your health. Check it out today!
How Can You Use this Information for YOUR Health?
Having and maintaining healthy vitamin D and other nutrient levels can help improve your health now and for your future. Measuring is the only way to make sure you are getting enough!
STEP 1 Order your at-home blood spot test kit to measure vitamin D and other nutrients of concern to you, such as omega-3s, magnesium, essential and toxic elements (zinc, copper, selenium, lead, cadmium, mercury); include hsCRP as a marker of inflammation or HbA1c for blood sugar health
STEP 2 Answer the online questionnaire as part of the GrassrootsHealth study
STEP 3 Using our educational materials and tools (such as our dose calculators), assess your results to determine if you are in your desired target range or if actions should be taken to get there
STEP 4 After 3-6 months of implementing your changes, re-test to see if you have achieved your target level(s)