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Vitamin D supplementation can improve muscle efficiency and strength.

Russell Setright May 2016

Vitamin D is a hormone made by the skin and cholesterols reaction to ultra violet light and to a lesser extent from the diet. In Australia we have a major problem with vitamin D deficiency and this is becoming a significant public health problem.

Vitamin D along with supporting the immune system, bone health and as a chemo protector against many diseases, low vitamin D levels is now being associated with muscle fatigue.

Fatigue in itself is due to our bodies mitochondria, the powerhouse that is within every cell in our body not functioning correctly. The Mitochondria uses oxygen and glucose to make energy in a form that can be used in every cell. An Energy-rich molecule known as ATP is synthesised in this process and we need large amounts of this ATP for movement and energy.

A recent study has shown that people with vitamin D deficiency have reduced energy activity and a measurement of this reduced energy is based on mitochondria phosphocreatine dynamics and recovery time.

It was found that this phosphocreatine recovery was significantly improved along with muscle efficiency and all patients reported an improvement in symptoms of fatigue following vitamin D3 supplementation.

The muscle benefits supplement and not just restricted fatigue other studies have found that vitamin D and improve muscle strength not only in the arms and legs but also the heart.

A Five-year study undertaken school of medicine at Leeds teaching hospital found that supplementing with 4,000iu of vitamin D3 compared to placebo significantly improve heart function in those already being treated for heart failure. In the 80 patients who took Vitamin D3, the heart's pumping function improved from 26% to 34%.

Scientists have known for years that Vitamin D is essential for muscle strength and studies in the elderly have showed vitamin d deficient bedridden patients quickly gain strength when given Vitamin D3 supplements.

Another study looked at the Association between vitamin D status muscle power and cardiorepiratory fitness in adolescents. This study found significant improvement in muscle strength and cardio fitness in 15-year-old boys who had a high level of vitamin D, more than 75 nmol per litre, when compared to those under 50 nmol per litre.

The evidence is consistent and strong and there is no doubt vitamin D plays an important role in nearly all aspects of human health and supplementation of vitamin D3 would seem to be an important way of ensuring an adequate level is maintained to optimise muscle strength and reduce fatigue.

Akash Sinha, Kieren Hollingsworth, Steve Ball, Tim Cheetham. Improving the vitamin D status of vitamin D deficient adults is associated with improved mitochondrial oxidative function in skeletal muscle. Endocrine Abstracts, 2013

Witte KK et al. Effects of Vitamin D on Cardiac Function in Patients with Chronic HF: The VINDICATE Study. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2016 Mar 24.

Proceedings of the Nutrition Society / Volume 74 / Issue OCE2 / January 2015, E163 (1 page)Copyright © The Authors 2015  DOI: (About DOI), Published online: 22 April 2015

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