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2014-01-13

Mom's Prenatal Vitamin D Intake Linked to Child's Muscle Development

Almost 3 years ago, I covered a study that suggested what this new study confirms. This new vitamin D study has linked the maternal blood level of the vitamin (at 34 weeks of gestation) to the child's lean mass and muscle strength at 4 years of age. These new results indicate that exposure to vitamin D during the late stages of pregnancy might influence the child's muscle development.

This may have consequences for a child's health later in their life--because muscle strength peaks in young adulthood before slowly declining in older age. Low grip strength in adulthood has been associated with poor health outcomes including diabetes, falls and fractures.


Previously, maternal vitamin D status has been associated with the child's bone development and adiposity (degree of body fat) in addition to being implicated in postnatal muscle function. However, very little is known about a role for vitamin D status in programming muscle development of babies.

Results from this study show higher the levels of vitamin D in the mother resulted in higher grip strength in the child, with an additional (but less pronounced) benefit to the child's muscle mass.

This is important since we're learning that sarcopenia (the slow decrease in muscle mass, quality, and strength with advancing age--the muscular equivalent of osteopenia/osteoporosis in the bones) is becoming a very large health concern. Preserving mass mass and strength is becoming as important as preserving bone density and strength.

What this study shows is that preventing sarcopenia may start even before you're born!

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Source: Maternal Antenatal Vitamin D Status and Offspring Muscle Development: Findings From the Southampton Women's Survey

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