Health, fitness and Food

Mothers who take plenty of vitamin D during pregnancy have babies with stronger muscles

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  • Toddlers whose whose mothers took vitamin D during their pregnancy had stronger grips and greater muscle mass
  • University of Southampton researchers said links between maternal vitamin D and offspring muscle strength could have consequences for later health

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.

British researchers found that by the age of four, children whose mothers took vitamin D during their pregnancy had stronger grips and greater muscle mass.

Low vitamin D status has been linked to reduced muscle strength in adults and children, but before this study little was known about how variation in a mother’s status during pregnancy affected her child.

Low vitamin D levels are common among young women in the UK and although they are recommended to take an additional 10g/day of vitamin D in pregnancy, many don’t take supplements.


‘These associations between maternal vitamin D and offspring muscle strength may well have consequences for later health,’ said Dr Nicholas Harvey, a senior lecturer at the university.

‘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.

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