12 January - 20 June 2016

Vitamin D and babies

15 Jan 14

Children are likely to have stronger muscles if their mothers had a higher level of vitamin D in their body during pregnancy, according to new research from the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (MRC LEU) at the University of Southampton.  The study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism measured the vitamin D levels of women in pregnancy by taking samples of their blood.  The researchers then looked at whether a mother’s vitamin D levels in pregnancy were related to how strong the child was.  The survey enrolled more than 15,000 young women aged 20 to 34.  The current study only included women who became pregnant during the study.  The women reported on their lifestyles and had characteristics such as their height and weight measured at the start of the study and during pregnancy.  At 34 weeks of pregnancy, they also had a blood sample taken and vitamin D levels were measured.  The children had their height, weight and body composition assessed at the age of four.  They also had their hand grip strength measured as an indication of their muscle strength.  The researchers analysed data for the 678 mother-child pairs that had all the necessary data.  They then assessed whether the children’s hand grip strength was related to their mother’s vitamin D levels during pregnancy.  The researchers found that higher maternal levels of vitamin D in pregnancy were associated with greater hand strength in the child at the age of four, even after taking into account potential confounding factors.  They say that their results suggest that exposure to higher levels of vitamin D in the womb may influence a child’s muscle development.  This seems to act by increasing strength, rather than the amount of muscle.  The researchers say that vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy may improve child muscle development, but that this needs to be confirmed in an intervention study before any recommendations are made.

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets, including the analysis for Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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