University of Oulu

Sucksdorff, M., Brown, A. S., Chudal, R., Surcel, H.-M., Hinkka-Yli-Salomäki, S., Cheslack-Postava, K., Gyllenberg, D., & Sourander, A. (2021). Maternal Vitamin D Levels and the Risk of Offspring Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 60(1), 142-151.e2.

Maternal vitamin D levels and the risk of offspring attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

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Author: Sucksdorff, Minna1,2; Brown, Alan S.3,4; Chudal, Roshan1;
Organizations: 1University of Turku, Finland
2Turku University Hospital, Finland
3Columbia University Medical Center, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY
4Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY
5Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, and Biobank Borealis of Northern Finland, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
6National Institute of Health and Welfare, Helsinki, and Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
7INVEST Research Flagship, University of Turku, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2020-12-19


Objective: Recent evidence has highlighted the importance of vitamin D in the development of the central nervous system. Some studies have shown an association between maternal vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and offspring attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms based on parent or teacher ratings. There are no previous studies on early pregnancy 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels and the risk of diagnosed offspring ADHD. Our aim was to examine maternal 25(OH)D levels in early pregnancy and offspring ADHD.

Method: In this nationwide population-based case-control study, 1,067 ADHD cases (born between 1998 and 1999 and diagnosed according to the International Classification of Diseases) and 1,067 matched controls were identified from Finnish registers. Maternal 25(OH)D levels were measured using quantitative immunoassay from maternal sera, collected during the first trimester and archived in the national biobank. Conditional logistic regression was used to examine the association between maternal 25(OH)D and offspring ADHD.

Results: There was a significant association between decreasing log-transformed maternal 25(OH)D levels and offspring ADHD both in the unadjusted analyses (odds ratio 1.65; 95% CI 1.33—2.05; p < .001) and in the analyses adjusting for maternal socioeconomic status and age (odds ratio 1.45; 95% CI 1.15—1.81; p = .002). Analyses by quintiles of maternal 25(OH)D levels in the lowest versus highest quintile revealed an adjusted odds ratio for offspring ADHD of 1.53 (95% CI 1.11—2.12; p = .010).

Conclusion: This study demonstrated an association between low maternal 25(OH)D during pregnancy and an elevated risk for offspring ADHD. If replicated in independent samples, this finding may have significant public health implications.

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Series: Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
ISSN: 0890-8567
ISSN-E: 1527-5418
ISSN-L: 0890-8567
Volume: 60
Issue: 1
Pages: 142 - 151.e2
DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2019.11.021
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3124 Neurology and psychiatry
Funding: This research was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (grant number 5R01ES028125), the INVEST Research Flagship, the APEX Research Consortium, and the PSYCOHORTS consortium. This research was also funded by the Academy of Finland Flagship Program (decision number 320162), the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland (decision number 303581), the U.S. National Institutes of Health (grant number 1R01ES028125-01), the Academy of Finland Health from Cohorts and Biobanks Program (decision number 308552), the Pediatric Research Foundation (M.S.), the Finnish Medical Foundation (M.S., D.G.), the University of Turku Graduate School (M.S.), the Finnish Brain Foundation (M.S.), The State Research Funding (M.S.), and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (D.G.).
Copyright information: © 2019 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license