High Levels Of Vitamin D May Improve Muscle Strength

Vitamin D has numerous health benefits, from keeping our bones and teeth healthy to potentially even protecting against diseases such as diabetes and certain types of cancer. A new study suggests that vitamin D may also improve muscle strength.

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Vitamin D is key for the development and maintenance of healthy bones. It also has many positive effects on the immune system, endocrine glands, and cardiovascular system.

Some observational studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with a higher risk of colorectal and breast cancer, while others have found a correlation between vitamin D levels and the risk of autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

A new study - carried out by researchers from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom - investigates the effect of vitamin D levels on muscle strength.

Analyzing the effect of vitamin D on muscle mass

Using innovative technology, researchers were able to study both active and inactive vitamin D levels, together with their impact on muscle strength.

Vitamin D - whether it is in D2 or D3 form - is, by itself, biologically inactive, until it is activated by two enzymatic reactions: one in the liver and the other in the kidney.

Dr. Zaki Hassan-Smith, from the University of Birmingham, explains the novelty of the research procedure in the current study:

"Previous studies have tested for the inactive forms of vitamin D in the bloodstream, to measure vitamin D deficiency. Here, we were able to develop a new method of assessing multiple forms of vitamin D, alongside extensive testing of body composition, muscle function, and muscle gene expression."

The team examined vitamin D levels in 116 healthy participants aged between 20 and 74. They also measured the participants' body fat and "lean body mass" - a measure of muscle mass, obtained by subtracting the body fat weight from the total body weight.