Monday, February 16, 2009

Vitamin D and Muscle Power

A new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism discusses Vitamin D and how it is associated with muscle power and force.

Vitamin D shortages are often seen now in the United States, even though it iis naturally produced in the body through exposure to direct sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to have a significant negative impact on muscle and bone health, and can lead to conditions including osteoporosis and rickets. In the case of this recent study done on adolescent girls, Vitamin D appears to have quite an impact, even when we are young.

“We know vitamin D deficiency can weaken the muscular and skeletal systems, but until now, little was known about the relationship of vitamin D with muscle power and force,” said Dr. Kate Ward, Ph.D., of the University of Manchester in the U.K., and lead author of the study.

This study found that vitamin D is positively related to muscle power, force, velocity and jump height in adolescent girls. Researchers followed 99 adolescent girls between the ages of 12 and 14 years. Dr. Ward and her colleagues took blood samples to measure the girls’ serum levels of vitamin D. Many of these girls were found to have low levels of vitamin D despite not presenting any symptoms.

Researchers tested the girls in a series of jumping activities. Dr. Ward says this method of testing is ideal as the muscles required to jump are those most often affected in subjects with vitamin D deficiency. Girls without vitamin D deficiency performed significantly better in these tests.

This author says, “Vitamin D affects the various ways muscles work and we’ve seen from this study that there may be no visible symptoms of vitamin D deficiency,” said Dr. Ward. “Further studies are needed to address this problem and determine the necessary levels of vitamin D for a healthy muscle system.”



LBJ11 said...


My husband recently had a battery of blood tests - result of going to a new doctor. One of his deficiencies turned out to be Vitamin D, the other - calcium. He is now taking supplements and hoping by getting back to normal that the pain he experiences will go away or at least lessen.

Dave Jensen said...

LBJ11, thanks for the comment! I found the same thing. On a recent physical, I asked for Vit D blood levels to be checked -- Dr. said I didn't need that test and that insurance wouldn't pay. I did it anyway, and sure enough I was very low. Good to check!