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Prenatal Calcium and Vitamin D Intake, and Bone Mass in Later Life


The aging population will result in an increasing burden of osteoporotic fractures, necessitating the identification of novel strategies for prevention. There is increasing recognition that factors in utero may influence bone mineral accrual, and, thus, osteoporosis risk. The role of calcium and vitamin D has received much attention in recent years, and in this review, we will survey available studies relating maternal calcium and vitamin D status during pregnancy to offspring bone development. The evidence base supporting a positive influence on intrauterine skeletal growth appears somewhat stronger for maternal 25(OH)-vitamin D concentration than for calcium intake, and the available data point toward the need for high-quality randomized controlled trials in order to inform public health policy. It is only with such a rigorous approach that it will be possible to delineate the optimal strategy for vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy in relation to offspring bone health.

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We would like to thank Medical Research Council (UK), Arthritis Research UK, National Osteoporosis Society (UK), International Osteoporosis Foundation, and NIHR for funding this work.

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Conflict of Interest

E. M. Curtis, R. J. Moon, and E. M. Dennison declare that they have no conflicts of interest. N. C. Harvey has received consultant fees from Internis Pharma and Consilient Healthcare and honoraria from Servier, Eli Lilley, AFBBH, Shire, and Amgen.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All studies by Elizabeth Curtis, Rebecca Moon, Elaine Dennison, and Nicholas Harvey involving animal and/or human subjects were performed after approval by the appropriate institutional review boards. When required, written informed consent was obtained from all participants.

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Correspondence to Nicholas C. Harvey.

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Curtis, E.M., Moon, R.J., Dennison, E.M. et al. Prenatal Calcium and Vitamin D Intake, and Bone Mass in Later Life. Curr Osteoporos Rep 12, 194–204 (2014).

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  • Fetal programming
  • Bone mineral density
  • Bone mass
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Mother-offspring