In today’s world, there’s a greater focus on raising little girls who are both emotionally and physically strong. There are ways in which women are actually fitter than men, one of which is the fact that they process oxygen more quickly, which means they’re less likely to get muscle fatigue. But when it comes to muscle strength, women are still often at a biological disadvantage, especially when it comes to the upper body. Now, a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has found an easy way to boost muscle strength in little girls. Read on to discover why. And for more amazing health tips, don’t miss the 50 Ultimate Flat-Belly Secrets for Summer!
Henrik Thybo Christesen a professor at H.C. Andersen children’s hospital, Odense University Hospital and University of Southern Denmark, and his colleagues measured the muscle strength of 881 5-year-old children using a standardized test for hand grip strength meant for children. Of the group, 449 of the children were also tested for their levels of Vitamin D.
Adjusting for height, weight and body fat percentage, girls were stronger if their Vitamin D level was more than 50 nmol/L. Girls with low levels of Vitamin D were also found to a have 70 percent increased risk of being among the lowest 10 percent in the muscle strength test. The most interesting part of the study was that this significant disparity based on Vitamin D was only true for girls, not boys, a gender difference that researchers could not explain.
And while Christesen cautioned that the study cannot yet conclude that giving girls vitamin D supplements or exposing them to more sunlight could make them physically stronger, the research does point to that.
Vitamin D Benefits
Vitamin D has been found to have loads of benefits, especially in children, including maintaining a healthy bone mass, boosting immunity, regulating insulin levels, supporting lung function and cardiovascular health, and helping reduce the risk of cancer. Along with vitamin B, iron, and magnesium, vitamin D is one of the most common supplements that doctors recommend to people over 40 to help keep their energy levels up.
The Recommended Dosage
The CDC agrees that vitamin D has positive effects on health and states that “what constitutes the optimal intake of vitamin D remains a matter of some disagreement.”
It maintains that the current recommendation from the Institute of Medicine call for 200 international units [5.0 micrograms (µg)] of vitamin D daily from birth through age 50, 400 IU (10 µg) for those aged 51–70 years, and 600 IU (15 µg) for those older than 70 years.” Vitamin D is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world. Forty-two percent of the adult population in the U.S. have low vitamin D levels.
Other Ways to Get Vitamin D
If pills aren’t your thing, you can find vitamin D in mushrooms, oily fish, fish liver oil, and egg yolk. Additionally, exposure to the sun for 5–30 minutes per day between 10 AM and 3 PM is usually enough to meet the daily requirements for many individuals.
For more inspiration on raising a strong girl, Meet the Fittest Woman on the Planet.
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