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20 June 2013
Vitamin D may delay early puberty in girls

Vitamin D supplements may help delay the early onset of puberty in girls, according to a new study that compared levels of vitamin D in girls with early and normal onset of puberty. The findings were presented this week at The Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Among girls, puberty generally begins between the ages of 10 and 14. Precocious puberty is diagnosed in girls when sexual development begins before the age of 8.

In this study, the researchers 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, nearly half had a severe deficiency in vitamin D, compared to only 20 percent of the group with age-appropriate physical development.

The investigators also examined the activity of neurons responsible for stimulating the release of a hormone that triggers the ovulation process. They found that vitamin D was associated with a suppression of the neuronal activities that trigger puberty.

"If we understand more about the action mechanism of vitamin D on neuronal activities, we can find a clue to control of precocious puberty using vitamin D or related molecules," said study lead author Min Sun Kim, at Chonbuk National University Medical School in South Korea. "Our results suggest that vitamin D may inhibit early pubertal onset and/or the rapid progression of puberty, at least in part, through the suppression of neuronal excitation in humans."

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Source: The Endocrine Society

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