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Vitamin D supplements do not impact growth

In a recent trial, children aged 6 to 13 with vitamin D deficiency did not see influence on linear growth, body composition, or pubertal development when taking vitamin D supplements.

Oral vitamin D supplements do not impact linear growth, body composition, or pubertal development in school-aged children with vitamin D deficiency, according to a recent study.

Many children in temperate climates experience vitamin D deficiency, leading to stunted growth, obesity, and early activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. There are currently few phase 3 studies examining the effects long-term vitamin D replacements have on growth, body composition, and pubertal development.

To determine if weekly oral vitamin D supplements impact the linear growth, body composition, or pubertal development of school-aged children in environments where vitamin D deficiency is common, investigators conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial.

Participants were children aged 6 to 13 years at select schools in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, from June 2016 to June 2019. Children were excluded if they had positive QuantiFERON-TB Gold in-tube assay result, a condition or medication that affected vitamin D metabolism, used vitamin D supplements, showed signs of rickets, or planned to move from the study location in the next 4 years.

One study group was given a weekly dose of vitamin D3, 14,000 IU, while the other group was given a weekly placebo. Both groups took doses once a week for 3 years. Body mass index for age, height for age, mean percentage body fat, waist-to-height ratio, fat mass, fat-free mass, and Tanner scores for pubertal development were recorded.

There were 8851 participants, 8453 of which had vitamin D deficiency at baseline. The average vitamin D concentrations at the end of the study were 31 for the supplement group and 10.7 for the placebo group, showing that the vitamin D supplementation elevated vitamin D concentration.

Both groups saw no external influence on body mass index for age, height for age, mean percentage body fat, waist-to-height ratio, fat mass, fat-free mass, and Tanner scores for pubertal development. This showed that vitamin D supplementation did not affect linear growth, body composition, or pubertal development.

Reference

Ganmaa D, Bromage S, Khudyakov P, Erdenenbaatar S, Delgererekh B, Martineau AR. Influence of vitamin D supplementation on growth, body composition, and pubertal development among school-aged children in an area with a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Pediatr. 2022. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.4581