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Vitamin D Deficiency In Young Girls Undetected

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

According to a new study, Vitamin D is essential for muscle strength in adolescent girls, yet vitamin D deficiencies may be undetected. Vitamin D deficiency was discovered a large portion of 99 adolescent girls who took part in a study that measured vitamin D levels and muscle strength. The researchers found there were no symptoms among the vitamin D deficient girls. Furthermore, the girls performed poorly on muscle strength and velocity tests that used jumping exercises.

The study, due for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), measured serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, parathyroid hormone (PTH), and calcium levels in 99 adolescent girls between the ages of 12 and 14 years. Researchers then tested muscle power by testing their ability to jump.

According to Dr. Kate Ward, Ph.D., of the University of Manchester in the U.K., and lead author of the study, "Our study found that vitamin D is positively related to muscle power, force, velocity and jump height in adolescent girls." Dr. Ward further explained that muscles used for jumping are most often affected by Vitamin D deficiency.

The study revealed the adolescent girls with adequate Vitamin D levels performed significantly better on the jumping tests. The researchers also discovered that many of the adolescent girls had a vitamin D deficiency, but displayed no symptoms.

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Dr. Ward says, "We know vitamin D deficiency can weaken the muscular and skeletal systems, but until now, little was known about the relationship of vitamin D with muscle power and force. Vitamin D affects the various ways muscles work and we've seen from this study that there may be no visible symptoms of vitamin D deficiency."

The study authors say vitamin D is essential for a healthy muscle system. The current study concluded, "…that vitamin D was significantly associated with muscle power and force in adolescent girls".

Further studies are recommended. Recent research raises questions about widespread Vitamin D deficiency in our population that can lead to osteoporosis, immune dysfunction, and possibly other diseases.

The newest study shows that many adolescent girls may experience undetected vitamin D deficiency, affecting muscle health.

Abstract: Vitamin D status and muscle function in post-menarchal adolescent girls