Vitamin D and muscle power

(04/09) via JS – who asks – could the suggested link between Vitamin D deficiency and muscle weakness be of interest to ME sufferers?

cartoon - girls jumping

Although vitamin D is naturally produced in the body through exposure to direct sunlight, vitamin D deficiency has become common, especially in the United States. Vitamin D deficiency is known to have a significant impact on muscle and bone health, and can lead to conditions including osteoporosis and rickets.

‘We know vitamin D deficiency can weaken the muscular and skeletal systems, but until now, little was known about the relationship of vitamin D with muscle power and force,’ said Dr Kate Ward of the University of Manchester and lead author of the study. ‘Our study found that vitamin D is positively related to muscle power, force, velocity and jump height in adolescent girls.’

The study followed 99 12–14 year-old girls, many of whom were found to have low levels of vitamin D even though they did not show any symptoms, and tested their performance in a series of jumping activities. (The muscles required to jump are those most often affected by vitamin D deficiency.) Girls with ample vitamin D performed significantly better in these tests.

Ward et al Vitamin D status and muscle function in post-menarchal adolescent girls. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Feb 2009 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2008-1284

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First Published in April 2009

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