Researchers at the University of Southampton have discovered that more vitamin D during pregnancy gives children stronger muscles.
Low vitamin D status has been linked to reduced muscle strength in adults and children, but little is known about how variation in a mother’s status during pregnancy affects her child.
Vitamin D levels were measured in 678 mothers in the later stages of pregnancy. When the children were four years old, grip strength and muscle mass were measured. Results showed that the higher the levels of vitamin D in the mother, the higher the grip strength of the child.
Lead researcher Dr Nicholas Harvey, Senior Lecturer at the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton said, “These associations between maternal vitamin D and offspring muscle strength may well have consequences for later health.
"Muscle strength peaks in young adulthood before declining in older age and low grip strength in adulthood has been associated with poor health outcomes including diabetes, falls and fractures."