SAN FRANCISCO-- Vitamin D supplementation may help delay early onset of puberty in girls, a new clinical study finds. The results were presented Monday at The Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
Among girls, puberty generally begins between the ages of 10 and 14. Boys undergo these changes later, usually between 12 to 16 years of age. Precocious puberty is diagnosed in girls when sexual development begins before the age of 8; in boys, it is diagnosed when these changes occur before age 9.
Recently, medical research has linked vitamin D deficiency to a number of diseases, including cancer, obesity and autoimmune disease. Low vitamin D levels have been found in girls with precocious puberty, as well, although the exact relationship between vitamin D deficiency and early development remains unclear.
To determine how low vitamin D deficiency is related to precocious puberty, investigators in the current study compared blood levels of the vitamin between girls with early and normal development.
They found that girls with precocious puberty were significantly more likely than those with age-appropriate development to have a severe vitamin D deficiency. Among the precocious puberty group, 44 percent had a severe deficiency in vitamin D, compared to 21 percent of the group with age-appropriate physical development.
Additionally, investigators examined the activity of neurons responsible for stimulating the release of a hormone that triggers the ovulation process. Specifically, investigators used the neuron-stimulating compound called N-methyl-D-aspartate, or NMDA, to activate the neurons responsible for releasing gondadotropin-releasing hormone, or GnRH. They found that vitamin D was associated with a suppression of the NMDA-mediated neuronal activities on GnRH neurons.
"If we understand more about the action mechanism of vitamin D on GnRH neuronal activities, we can find a clue to control
|Contact: Jenni Glenn Gingery|
The Endocrine Society