At a Glance:
An adequate maternal vitamin D level during pregnancy is important for childhood bone development and lean body mass. New research suggests that it may also influence muscle function during childhood and throughout life.
Read more about this research below:
In a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers investigated the associations between maternal serum vitamin D status and offspring lean mass and muscle strength.
This observational study included 678 British mother-child pairs that were part of the Southampton Women’s Survey (SWS) research group. Maternal vitamin D levels at 34 weeks of gestation were analyzed and recorded. Grip strength and muscle mass were measured in the children at the age of 4 years.
A higher maternal serum vitamin D level during pregnancy was positively associated with height-adjusted hand grip strength in the children, even after adjusting for potential confounding factors such as duration of breastfeeding and physical activity in the children. There was also a less significant association between the mother’s vitamin D status and muscle mass.
The results of this study suggest that intrauterine exposure to vitamin D during late pregnancy may influence offspring muscle development through an effect primarily on muscle strength rather than on muscle mass. Low serum vitamin D is common among young women, suggesting women should consume higher amounts of vitamin D during pregnancy.
Harvey NC et al. Maternal Antenatal Vitamin D Status and Offspring Muscle Development: Findings From the Southampton Women's Survey. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Jan;99(1):330-7.
Source: USANA Health Sciences Essentials of Health