Background: The primary aim of this study was to assess whether exposure during fetal life to extra vitamin D from food fortification was associated with a reduction in the risk of subsequently developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Furthermore, we examined whether the effect of the vitamin D from fortification differed by women's season of birth.
Methods: This semi-ecological study is based on the cancellation in 1985 of the mandatory policy to fortify margarine with vitamin D in Denmark, with inclusion of entire national adjacent birth cohorts either exposed or unexposed to extra vitamin D in utero. The identification of GDM cases later in life among both exposure groups was based on the Danish national health registers. Logistic regression analyses generating odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were performed.
Results: Women who were prenatally exposed to the extra vitamin D from fortification tended to have a lower risk of subsequently developing GDM than unexposed women (OR 0.87, 95%CI 0.74,1.02, P = 0.08). When analyses were stratified by women's season of birth, exposed women born in spring had a lower risk of developing GDM compared to unexposed subjects (OR 0.68, 95%CI 0.50,0.94, p = 0.02).
Conclusion: This study suggests that prenatal exposure to extra vitamin D from mandatory fortification may lower the risk of developing gestational diabetes among spring-born women.
Trial registration: This study is part of the D-tect project, which is registered on clinicaltrials.gov: NCT03330301 .
Keywords: Fetal programming; Food intake; Gestational diabetes mellitus; Public health epidemiology; Vitamin D.