New Study Reveals Teen Girls With Higher Vitamin D Levels May Have Improved Muscle Performance

February 5, 2009 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Young female athletes could have yet another reason to grab a glass of vitamin D-rich milk. Not only does vitamin D work with calcium to keep bones strong, but researchers now found that teenage girls with higher vitamin D levels may be able to jump higher and faster than their peers with lower levels, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

UK researchers collected vitamin D levels for 99 girls, ages 12 to 14. To test the girls’ muscle function, the girls were instructed to jump as high as possible while researchers used a device designed to measure power and performance called jumping mechanography. After controlling for differences in the girls’ body weight, the girls with the highest vitamin D levels had the highest jump speeds, jump height, power and force.

This potential muscle advantage adds to the growing list of evidence positioning vitamin D as a super nutrient. Well known for its role in keeping bones strong, vitamin D is now being hailed for so much more. Emerging science suggests vitamin D may also help protect against diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and certain cancers. It may also support a healthy immune system to ward off infections, and some preliminary evidence suggests it may affect longevity.

Yet despite a potential upside of boosting vitamin D levels, Americans of all ages still fall short of their vitamin D needs. Even in this study with demonstrated muscle benefits, overall, the girls’ vitamin D levels were far less than ideal – a finding consistent with numerous studies indicating a resurgence in vitamin D deficiencies in adolescence. In fact, current deficiency levels prompted the American Academy of Pediatrics to double the vitamin D recommendations for children and teens to 400 IU daily. The Academy estimates that up to half of adolescents have low vitamin D levels.

The recommended three glasses of lowfat or fat free milk a day delivers 75 percent of the vitamin D that’s needed each day. Milk remains the leading source of vitamin D in the American diet – it’s one of the few food sources of the super nutrient. Plus, along with vitamin D, milk is a good source of calcium and high-quality protein – two nutrients vital to help teens maintain bone density and lean muscle.


Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.


Ward KA, Das G, Berry JL, Roberts SA, Rawer R, Adams JE, Mughal Z. Vitamin D status and muscle function in post-menarchal adolescent girls. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2009;94:559-563.

Wagner CL, Greer FR; American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. Prevention of rickets and vitamin D deficiency in infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2008;122:1142-1152.

Source: Gloria Delgadillo

Weber Shandwick Worldwide



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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