Vitamin D Increases Muscle Strength in Postmenopausal Women

Pharmacy Times, April 2016 Respiratory Health, Volume 82, Issue 4

The results of a recent study suggest that vitamin D supplementation can significantly increase muscle strength and reduce the loss of muscle mass in postmenopausal women.

Although many experts are unsure of the benefits of vitamin D supplementation in postmenopausal women, the results of a recent study suggest that vitamin D supplementation can significantly increase muscle strength and reduce the loss of muscle mass in this population. The study, presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), randomly assigned postmenopausal women to receive either vitamin D supplements or placebo, and then measured their muscle mass using total-body dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, a handgrip strength test, and a chair-rising test.

After a 9-month period, the research team found that patients in the supplement group experienced an average muscle strength increase of 25.3%, whereas those in the placebo group lost an average of 6.8% muscle mass. Women in the placebo group were also nearly twice as likely to fall as those who received supplements. The researchers estimated that the benefits of vitamin D supplementation could last more than 12 years after menopause. “We concluded that the supplementation of vitamin D alone provided significant protection against the occurrence of sarcopenia, which is a degenerative loss of skeletal muscle,” said lead author LM Cangussu, PhD, in a press release.

“While this study is unlikely to decide the debate over vitamin D, it provides further evidence to support the use of vitamin D supplements by postmenopausal women in an effort to reduce frailty and an increased risk of falling,” added NAMS Executive Director Wulf H. Utian, MD,PhD.