Previous studies have shown that improving vitamin D status among the elderly may lead to an improvement in muscle mass and muscle strength. In our study, vitamin D supplementation showed significant improvements in vitamin D concentrations as well as appendicular muscle mass in pre-sarcopenic older Lebanese people. However, we found no significant effect on muscle strength.
Improving vitamin D status might improve muscle function and muscle mass that lead to sarcopenia in older subjects. The aim of this randomized, controlled, double-blind study was to examine the effect of vitamin D supplementation on handgrip strength and appendicular skeletal muscle mass in pre-sarcopenic older Lebanese subjects. We also examined whether this effect differs in normal vs. obese subjects.
Participants (n = 128; 62 men and 66 women) deficient in vitamin D (25(OH)D = 12.92 ± 4.3 ng/ml) were recruited from Saint Charles Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon. The participants were given a supplement of 10,000 IU of cholecalciferol (vitamin D group; n = 64) to be taken three times a week or a placebo tablet (placebo group; n = 64) for 6 months. One hundred fifteen subjects completed the study: 59 had normal weight, while 56 were obese. Strength and functional assessment and biochemical analysis were performed at the start and after 6 months.
Compared to placebo, the vitamin D supplemented group showed significant improvements in appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASMM) (P < 0.001) but not in handgrip strength (P = 0.2901). ANCOVA for ASMM adjusting for obesity and including the interaction between obesity and vitamin D showed a significant interaction. The increase in ASMM with vitamin D in normal-weight subjects was higher than that of obese subjects (B = 35.09 vs. B = 2.19).
Treatment with vitamin D showed beneficial effects on appendicular muscle mass in pre-sarcopenic older Lebanese men and women. However, it had no effect on muscle strength relative to placebo. This trial was registered at isrctn.org as ISRCTN16665940.
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Appendicular skeletal muscle
Body mass index
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The authors thank Saint Charles Hospital and the participants for their contribution to the study.
This work did not receive any grant support.
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El Hajj, C., Fares, S., Chardigny, J.M. et al. Vitamin D supplementation and muscle strength in pre-sarcopenic elderly Lebanese people: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Osteoporos 14, 4 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11657-018-0553-2
- Vitamin D
- Appendicular skeletal muscle mass
- Muscle strength
- Sarcopenic obesity