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The relationship between vitamin D status and muscle strength in young healthy adults from sunny climate countries currently living in the northeast of Scotland



The current study examined the relationship between vitamin D status and muscle strength in young healthy adults: residents (>6 months) and newcomers (0–3 months), originally from sunny climate countries but currently living in the northeast of Scotland. Our longitudinal data found a positive, albeit small, relationship between vitamin D status and knee extensor isometric strength.


Vitamin D has been suggested to play a role in muscle health and function, but studies so far have been primarily in older populations for falls prevention and subsequent risk of fractures.


Vitamin D status was assessed in a healthy young adults from sunny climate countries (n = 71, aged 19–42 years) with 56% seen within 3 months of arriving in Aberdeen [newcomers; median (range) time living in the UK = 2 months (9–105 days)] and the remainder resident for >6 months [residents; 23 months (6–121 months)]. Participants attended visits every 3 months for 15 months. At each visit, fasted blood samples were collected for analysis of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], parathyroid hormone (PTH), carboxy-terminal collagen crosslinks (CTX) and N-terminal propeptide of type I collagen (P1NP). Maximal voluntary contractions (MVC) were performed for grip strength (both arms) and for maximal isometric strength of the knee extensors (right knee).


There were small seasonal variations in 25(OH)D concentrations within the newcomers and residents, but no seasonal variation in bone turnover markers. There was a positive, albeit small, association between 25(OH)D and knee extensor maximal isometric strength. Mixed modelling predicted that for each 1 nmol/L increase in 25(OH)D, peak torque would increase by 1 Nm (p = 0.04).


This study suggests that vitamin D may be important for muscle health in young adults migrating from sunnier climates to high latitudes, yet the potential effect is small.

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This study was funded by the Ministry of Higher Education of Malaysia and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) for the PhD scholarship. The authors wish to thank Karen Secombes, Mhairi Hill and Sandra Heslop for helping in blood collection. The authors are particularly grateful to all the participants who took part in this study.

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Correspondence to H. M. Macdonald.

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Jamil, N.A., Gray, S.R., Fraser, W.D. et al. The relationship between vitamin D status and muscle strength in young healthy adults from sunny climate countries currently living in the northeast of Scotland. Osteoporos Int 28, 1433–1443 (2017).

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  • Ethnic
  • Hand grip
  • Isometric
  • Muscle strength
  • Vitamin D