Circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines are elevated and peak power output correlates with 25-hydroxyvitamin D in vitamin D insufficient adults

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Jun;113(6):1523-34. doi: 10.1007/s00421-012-2582-7. Epub 2013 Jan 6.


The purpose of this study was to identify circulating cytokines, skeletal muscle strength, and peak power output in young adults with contrasting serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations. Serum 25(OH)D, inflammatory cytokines, muscle strength, and peak power output were, therefore, measured in young adults (25-42 years). Data were collected during the winter to avoid the seasonal influence on serum 25(OH)D. After serum 25(OH)D concentration measurements, subjects were separated into one of two groups: (1) vitamin D insufficient [serum 25(OH)D ≤32 ng/mL, n = 14], or (2) vitamin D sufficient [serum 25(OH)D >32 ng/mL, n = 14]. Following group allocation, serum 25(OH)D concentrations were significantly (p < 0.05) lower and pro-inflammatory cytokines [interleukin (IL)-2, IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α, and interferon-γ] were significantly (all p < 0.05) greater in vitamin D insufficient adults. An anti-inflammatory cytokine (i.e., IL-10; p > 0.05), peak isometric forces (p > 0.05), and peak power outputs (p > 0.05) were not significantly different between vitamin D groups. However, peak power outputs correlated with serum 25(OH)D concentrations in vitamin D insufficient (r = 0.55, p < 0.05) but not in vitamin D sufficient adults (r = -0.27, p = 0.36). Based on these data, we conclude that vitamin D insufficiency, in part, could result in pro-inflammatory stress without altering muscular strength or function in young adults. Future research investigating the causality of the correlation between low-serum 25(OH)D and peak power output in young adults is required.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology*


  • Cytokines
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D