A presentation on June 17, 2013 at The Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting held in San Francisco revealed a greater risk of precocious puberty in girls with deficient levels of vitamin D in comparison with girls who entered puberty at a normal age. Early puberty in girls is defined as the onset of sexual development before the age of 8. The incidence of precocious puberty has increased over the past several decades, and girls affected by the condition may have a higher risk of breast cancer or other conditions later in life.
The current research, led by Min Sun Kim, MD, PhD who is an assistant professor at Chonbuk National University Medical School in Jeonju, South Korea, included 110 girls aged 7 to 10 years, among whom 35 were categorized as having experienced precocious puberty according to the Tanner Scale. Blood samples collected from the subjects were analyzed for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and other factors.
Vitamin D levels were lower on average among girls with early puberty in comparison with girls who entered puberty at a normal age. Forty-four percent of the girls who underwent precocious puberty had serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were classified as severely deficient at less than 10 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) in comparison with 21% of the normal group. In additional experimentation, the researchers found that the administration of vitamin D suppressed the ability of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) to release gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH, which triggers the ovulation process) from neurons.
"If we understand more about the action mechanism of vitamin D on GnRH neuronal activities, we can find a clue to control of precocious puberty using vitamin D or related molecules," Dr Kim explained. "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 NMDA-mediated GnRH neuronal excitation in humans."
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†This supplement should be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise program. Results may vary.