High blood pressure risk as a result of vitamin D deficiency in childhood

High blood pressure risk as a result of vitamin D deficiency in childhood

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Childhood vitamin D levels have long-term effects on blood pressure

Hypertension can develop as a possible consequence of a vitamin D deficiency in childhood, according to a recent study by American and Chinese researchers. An additional intake of vitamin D during pregnancy and in early childhood could also have a preventive effect in this regard, reports the professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ), citing the study results.

According to the latest study by the research team led by Guoying Wang from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health (Boston, USA), there is a connection between vitamin D levels in early childhood and blood pressure in later life. A sustained vitamin D deficiency in early childhood is associated with a doubling of the risk of high values ​​of systolic blood pressure later in life, the researchers report. The results of their study were published in the specialist journal "Hypertension".

Relationship between vitamin D and blood pressure

Vitamin D can only be ingested to a very limited extent through food. However, it is formed in the body when the skin is in contact with sunlight. Vitamin D fulfills numerous important functions in the organism. For example, it is necessary to use calcium for bone building. The research team also reported from previous studies that vitamin D deficiency in adults is associated with high blood pressure. So far, however, it has not been clear whether vitamin D status at a young age can influence blood pressure later in life.

775 children examined

As part of the current study, Guoying Wang's research team investigated the effect of vitamin D levels in early age on systolic blood pressure (SBP) in later childhood using the data from 775 children who participated in a prospective birth cohort study by the Boston Medical Center to have. Up to the age of 18, the participants were regularly examined medically. The systolic blood pressure and vitamin D concentrations in the blood plasma were also measured.

Increasing risk with low vitamin D levels

The researchers then looked for possible correlations between low vitamin D values ​​(less than 11 ng / ml at birth; less than 25 ng / ml in early childhood) and elevated values ​​of systolic blood pressure later in life. They were able to demonstrate that a low vitamin D status at birth was associated with a 38 percent increased risk of excessive systolic blood pressure between the ages of three and 18 years. If the vitamin D deficiency only became apparent in early childhood, this led to an almost 60 percent increased risk.

Doubling the risk of persistent vitamin D deficiency

If the vitamin D deficiency existed at birth and then continued until early childhood, the risk of increased systolic blood pressure doubled between the ages of three and 18, the researchers report. These results show that low vitamin D status in early life is associated with an increased risk of systolic hypertension in childhood and adolescence, the research team emphasizes.

New strategies to prevent high blood pressure possible?

A causal relationship has not yet been proven because it was only an observational study. Nevertheless, the study results could help develop strategies for vitamin D screening and supplementation in pregnancy and childhood to reduce the risk of an increased blood pressure rate over the life span, the researchers hope.

Vitamin D tablets recommended for children in the first year of life

So far, the prescription of vitamin D tablets in breastfed and non-breastfed infants has been recommended in Germany from the end of the first week of life to the end of the first year of life, because during this time it is particularly important for bone formation and, if there is a deficiency, development The professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ) reports that there is a risk of rickets, citing the German Society for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ). If necessary, prophylaxis can be continued in the winter months in the second year of life.

How can you determine the vitamin D deficiency?

An existing vitamin D deficiency can be determined relatively easily by examining the blood, according to the BVKJ. Such an examination is useful, for example, in children with certain chronic diseases (inflammatory bowel diseases, chronic kidney or liver diseases) or when taking medications that influence calcium or vitamin D metabolism. High pigmentation (dark skin) and a lack of contact with sunlight are also possible reasons for a vitamin D deficiency. (fp)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • Guoying Wang, Xin Liu, Tami R. Bartell, Colleen Pearson, Tina L. Cheng: Vitamin D Trajectories From Birth to Early Childhood and Elevated Systolic Blood Pressure During Childhood and Adolescence; in Hypertension Vol. 74: 421-430 (August 2019),
  • Professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ): Low vitamin D levels in early childhood may favor later high blood pressure (August 12, 2018),

Video: Hypertension u0026 Vitamin D Deficiency in African Americans, John Flack. - SIU SOM (August 2022).