Washington: Low vitamin D in young girls may lead to early menstruation, which is a risk factor for a host of health problems for teen girls as well as women later in life, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health measured the blood vitamin D levels in 242 girls ages 5-12 from Bogota, Colombia, and followed them for 30 months.
Girls low on vitamin D were twice as likely to start menstruation during the study than those with sufficient vitamin D, said epidemiologist Eduardo Villamor, associate professor in the U-M SPH.
Early menstruation is a risk factor for behavioural and psychosocial problems in teens.
Also, girls who have an earlier menarche appear to have increased risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases and cancer—particularly breast cancer, as adults.
In the research by Villamor and colleagues, 57 percent of the girls in the vitamin D-deficient group reached menarche during the study, compared to 23 percent in the vitamin D-sufficient group.
In terms of age, girls who were low in vitamin D were about 11.8 years old when they started menstruating, compared to the other group at about age 12.6 years old.
This 10-month difference is substantial, Villamor said, because even though 10 months may not seem like a long time, at that age a lot is happening rapidly to a young girl’s body.