As far as vitamins necessary for proper growth and development go, Vitamin D is considered one of the body’s most essential. It’s a requirement for the full functioning of the body system, so much so that its deficiency can be problematic. Recent research conducted by Brazilian scientists and published in the journal Calcified Tissue International and Musculoskeletal Research has shown that vitamin D deficiency can result in a huge 78 percent drop in muscle strength. 

Vitamin D, when consumed in adequate proportions is capable of performing various functions. One of which is balancing the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the human body. This is a distinct feature needed for the formation of strong bones and teeth and for repairing muscles. When deficient in the body, loss of bone density occurs leading to osteoporosis, fractures, rickets, etc.

According to Tiago de Silva Alexandre, professor of gerontology at University College London and co-author of the study, people need to be fully informed of the risks that come with not getting enough vitamin D hence the need for the study. “They need to express themselves to the sun, eat enough food rich in vitamin D or take a supplement,” he says.

Moreover, researchers of the current study believe that vitamin D supplementation could serve as a possible solution to dynapenia in older adults, a condition characterized by loss of muscle strength.  

Study Methodology

To arrive at these findings, the researchers analyzed data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). A total of 3,205 non-dynapenic individuals older than 50 were studied to evaluate the effect of vitamin D levels on muscle strength during an average follow-up of 15 years.  Serum concentrations of vitamin D were determined by analysis of blood samples using chemoluminescence. 

Muscle strength was then analyzed using a handheld dynamometer, a device used to measure hand grip strength. In each case, the device was adjusted to the size of the participant’s hand, and three trials were performed at one-minute intervals. The highest values obtained on the dominant hand were used for the study. Good grip strength was 26 kilograms for men and 16 kilograms for women. 

Results

By the end of the study, the results showed that reduced vitamin D levels increased the incidence of dynapenia by 70 percent. Serum vitamin D levels lower than 30 nmol/L were considered deficient. 

When individuals with osteoporosis and associated conditions that reduce vitamin D levels were excluded, the risk of muscle strength loss increased to nearly 78 percent.

Results from the study also established being above the age of 70, having low insulin growth factor levels, as well as having increased waist circumference as potential risk factors for dynapenia. 

Above all, the study highlights how important high consumption of vitamin D is to avoid risking losing our muscle strength. For this reason, eat more diets rich in Vitamin D, up your intake of supplements and lastly, partake in resistance training workouts to better preserve and power the muscles.

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