Prenatal and Early Life Exposure to the Danish Mandatory Vitamin D Fortification Policy Might Prevent Inflammatory Bowel Disease Later in Life: A Societal Experiment

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  • Katrine S. Duus
  • Caroline Moos
  • Peder Frederiksen
  • Vibeke Andersen
  • Heitmann, Berit

This register-based national cohort study of 206,900 individuals investigated whether prenatal exposure to small extra doses of vitamin D from fortified margarine prevented inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) later in life; whether the risk of IBD varied according to month or season of birth; and finally, whether there was an interaction between exposure to extra D vitamin and month or season of birth. Fortification of margarine with vitamin D was mandatory in Denmark from the mid-1930s until 1st June 1985, when it was abolished. Two entire birth cohorts, each including two years, were defined: one exposed and one unexposed to the fortification policy for the entire gestation. All individuals were followed for 30 years from the day of birth for an IBD diagnosis in Danish hospital registers. Logistic regression analyses were used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Odds for IBD was lower among those exposed to extra D vitamin compared to those unexposed, OR = 0.87 (95% CI: 0.79; 0.95). No association with month or season of birth was found. However, estimates suggested that particularly children born during autumn may have benefitted from the effect of small extra doses of vitamin D. This is, to our knowledge, the first study to explore if prenatal exposure to vitamin D from fortification influenced the risk of IBD. Our results suggest that prenatal exposure to small amounts of extra vitamin D from food fortification may protect against the development of IBD before 30 years of age.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1367
Issue number4
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn&#8217, s disease, ulcerative colitis, vitamin D, fortification, fetal programming, prenatal exposure, ecological study, CROHNS-DISEASE, ULCERATIVE-COLITIS, BIRTH, RISK

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