Expectant women who take vitamin A supplements before and during pregnancy have a greater chance of giving birth to a child with superior lung function, according to a new Johns Hopkins study.
For the research, a team of investigators analyzed the lung function of a group of children whose mothers had been assigned to receive vitamin A supplements, beta-carotene tablets or a placebo both before and during their pregnancy.
They discovered that women who took vitamin A supplements gave birth to children who had greater forced expiratory volume at one second (FEV1) and a greater forced vital capacity (FVC), two important measures of lung function. On average, the offspring of participants in the vitamin A group improved their lung function by 3 percent compared to the other respondents’ children.
"This benefit was limited to children whose mothers received vitamin A and not to those whose mothers received beta-carotene," said the authors of the study. "Early interventions with vitamin A in communities where undernutrition is highly prevalent may have long-lasting consequences in lung health."