Yet another example of how vitamin D affects more than strong bones. A study has shown that babies whose mothers took vitamin D during pregnancy had a stronger hand grip and greater muscle mass. This improved muscle strength may also be able to improve their health later in life.
The study included nearly 700 English mothers and their children, where the researchers measured levels of Vitamin D in late pregnancy and found that high levels of vitamin D in women's blood during pregnancy meant that the child had a stronger hand grip at the age of 4 years. Muscle mass was also slightly improved in the children who had received much vitamin D, but this evidence was somewhat weaker.
One of the researchers commented on the long-term consequences of this discovery, as he considered it likely that the increase in muscle strength as observed at four years of age in children born to mothers with high vitamin D levels will also be detectable into adulthood and potentially contribute to reducing the proportion of the diseases associated with loss of muscle mass in old age.
Low D levels in Northern Europe
The problem is that low vitamin D levels are common in pregnant women in Northern Europe, and although women are recommended to take, among others vitamin D during pregnancy, they nonetheless not always remember to take those supplements
Agreement on supplements
There are different opinions on supplements during pregnancy, but even the most hard-line opponents of supplementation agrees that pregnant women should take supplements of folic acid, vitamin D and iron. More well informed personnel recommend a more balanced basic supplementation including all vitamins and minerals and essential fatty acids.
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;99(1):330-7.
Van der Meer IM, et al. High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in pregnant non-Western women in The Hague, Netherlands. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;84(2):350-3.
Gray N. Want a stronger baby? get a higher vitamin D intake, study suggests. NutraIngredients 10.01.2014