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Studies linking vitamin D and long-term metabolic health have generated much debate. Recommendations for the intake of vitamin D by the general public and by the health care professionals have been complicated by a number of inconsistencies in the literature. These caveats relate to the methodological approaches, differences in the populations (and the species) of study, and the definitions used for thresholds of vitamin D status. This review addresses current evidence available for assessing the potential programming of long-term metabolic health of offspring by maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy. It summarizes knowledge on the early origins of metabolic health and analyzes evidence for an association between the vitamin D status in pregnancy and maternal and fetal health status. In addition, we analyze the link between the regulation of inflammation and the vitamin D status in the general population to inform on the general mechanisms through which early vitamin D might affect the programming of long-term health. The evidence suggests an association between the vitamin D status in early life and the programming of long-term health. However, to the best of our knowledge, the current finding is insufficient to draw a final conclusion for evidence-based preventive actions. The data warrant replication in prospective studies and additional research substantiating the causal factors and pathways.
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