Parents, now you have one more reason to keep a strong grip on your girls’ vitamin D levels: a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found higher levels of vitamin D were associated with greater muscle strength in five-year-old girls. The study included data from 881 children participating in the Odense Child Cohort—a Danish population-based study that has been monitoring the health of participating children since before they were born. When the children were five years old, researchers measured their blood vitamin D levels, hand grip strength, incidence of muscle tissue diseases, and body metrics like weight, height, and fat percentage, and found that:
Girls with vitamin D levels of 75nmol/L or higher had greater hand grip strength than girls with vitamin D levels below 50nmol/L—the cutoff for vitamin D insufficiency. This association was not seen in boys and was unrelated to body size or composition.
Girls with vitamin D sufficiency—50 nmol/L or higher—were 70% less likely to have muscle tissue diseases, compared with girls with vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency. This association was also not seen in boys.
This study supports other research suggesting vitamin D intake—even during pregnancy—is important for children’s muscle development. To ensure your child is getting enough vitamin D, include fatty fish and vitamin D-fortified foods like milk and cereal in their diet. If your child is a picky eater or you are concerned about their vitamin D level, talk with their doctor. They may recommend a vitamin D supplement if their levels are subpar.
Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism