The role of vitamin D in improving physical performance in the elderly

Authors

  • Violet Lagari,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA
    2. Endocrinology Section, Miami Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miami, FL, USA
    • Address correspondence to: Violet Lagari, DO, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, PO Box 016960 (D-56), Miami, FL 33101, USA. E-mail: vlagarilibhaber@med.miami.edu

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  • Orlando Gómez-Marín,

    1. Department of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA
    2. Departments of Epidemiology & Public Health and Pediatrics, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miami, FL, USA
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  • Silvina Levis

    1. Department of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA
    2. Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center and the Bruce W Carter Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Geriatrics Institute, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miami, FL, USA
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  • Presented at the 2012 Topical Meeting on Bone and Skeletal Muscle Interactions of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, Kansas City, MO, July 2012, and at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, Minneapolis, MN, October 2012.

ABSTRACT

There is an ongoing debate over the role of serum 25(OH) vitamin D [25(OH)D] levels in maintaining or improving physical performance and muscle strength. Much of the controversy is because of the variability between studies in participants' characteristics, baseline serum 25(OH)D levels, and baseline physical functioning. The aim of this ancillary study conducted within a randomized controlled clinical trial was to investigate whether supplementation with 400 or 2000 IU vitamin D3 daily for 6 months would improve measures of physical performance and muscle strength in a community-dwelling elderly population aged 65 to 95 years. Those with the slowest gait speed improved their ability to do chair-stand tests after vitamin D supplementation. This finding remained significant after controlling for potential confounding variables. There was also an inverse correlation between serum 25(OH)D levels and fat mass index (FMI) among women, suggesting that higher supplementation with vitamin D is needed as weight increases. The results of this study suggest that supplementation with vitamin D may be most beneficial in older populations who have low baseline physical functioning. © 2013 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

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