The Benefits Of Vitamin D On Gait, Muscle Strength And Balance In Older Adults

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The usefulness of vitamin D is increasingly being explored and as a result better studies are being collated and brought into publication. A study published the Journal of the American Geriatric Society in Dec 2011 reveals that Vit D status is linked to physical functionality and represents a suitable replacement option. Whilst the dose recommended is modest, it is able to record an improvement, higher levels may provide greater benefit depending on base line levels.


To systematically review and quantitatively synthesize the effect of vitamin D supplementation on muscle strength, gait, and balance in older adults.[1]


Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Setting: medline, embase,

Cochrane Library, bibliographies of selected articles, and previous systematic reviews were searched between January 1980 and November 2010 for eligible articles.


Older adults (>/=60) participating in randomised controlled trials of the effect of supplemental vitamin D without an exercise intervention on muscle strength, gait, and balance.


Data were independently extracted, and study quality was evaluated. Meta-analysis using a fixed-effects model was performed and the I(2) statistic was used to assess heterogeneity.


Of 714 potentially relevant articles, 13 met the inclusion criteria. In the pooled analysis, vitamin D supplementation yielded a standardized mean difference of -0.20 (95% confidence interval (CI) = -0.39 to -0.01, P = .04, I(2) = 0%) for reduced postural sway, -0.19 (95% CI = -0.35 to -0.02, P = .03, I(2) = 0%) for decreased time to complete the Timed Up and Go Test, and 0.05 (95% CI = -0.11 to 0.20, P = .04, I(2) = 0%) for lower extremity strength gain.

Regarding dosing frequency regimen, only one study demonstrated a beneficial effect on balance with a single large dose. All studies with daily doses of 800 IU or more demonstrated beneficial effects on balance and muscle strength.


Supplemental vitamin D with daily doses of 800 to 1,000 IU consistently demonstrated beneficial effects on strength and balance. An effect on gait was not demonstrated, although further evaluation is recommended.


[1] Muir SW, Montero-Odasso M. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on muscle strength, gait and balance in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 Dec;59(12):2291-300. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03733.x. (Review) View Abstract

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