Vitamin D deficiency appears to be associated with impaired muscle strength and reduced mobility in the elderly

In October 2019 researchers from Ireland published the results of their study to assess the association between impaired muscle function and serum vitamin D status in community-dwelling older adults. A total of 4,157 adults, average age 70 years, were involved in the study. Muscle strength and mobility were assessed in each individual and level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] measured. Overall it was seen that 31% had reduced hand grip strength whilst 13% were assessed as having reduced mobility. Results showed that those with the lowest levels of 25(OH)D had the highest incidence of impaired muscle strength and mobility. Consistent with this, vitamin D deficiency (under 30 nmol/L) was significantly associated with reduced handgrip strength and poor mobility. It was also seen that older adults undertaking regular moderate physical activity had a significantly lower risk of experiencing impaired muscle strength and mobility. Single or multiple falls were not not associated with vitamin D status. The researchers concluded by stating that it is generally accepted that vitamin D deficiency (ie below 30 nmol/L) should be reversed to prevent bone disease, but is a strategy that may also protect skeletal muscle function in ageing.

Aspell N et al. Vitamin D Deficiency Is Associated With Impaired Muscle Strength And Physical Performance In Community-Dwelling Older Adults: Findings From The English Longitudinal Study Of Ageing. Clin Interv Aging. 2019 Oct 15;14:1751-1761

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