Effects of vitamin D supplementation on upper and lower body muscle strength levels in healthy individuals. A systematic review with meta-analysis

J Sci Med Sport. 2015 Sep;18(5):575-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2014.07.022. Epub 2014 Aug 11.


Objectives: To investigate the effects of vitamin D supplementation on muscle strength in healthy individuals.

Design: A systematic review with meta-analysis.

Methods: In October 2013 a computerised literature search of three databases (PubMed, Web of Knowledge and Scopus) was performed. Included in the review were controlled and randomised controlled trials, published in English, which measured muscle strength and serum vitamin D concentration in participants 18-40 years old. References of identified articles were then cross-checked and citations scanned for additional articles. Quality was assessed using the PEDro scale. Muscle strength and vitamin D levels were extracted for a meta-analysis on upper and lower limb strength with standardised mean differences calculated to analyse effect.

Results: Six randomised controlled trials and one controlled trial were identified and quality assessment showed all seven trials were of 'good quality'. Data was extracted from 310 adults, 67% female, with mean ages ranging from 21.5 to 31.5 years. Trials lasted from 4 weeks to 6 months and dosages differed from 4000 IU per day to 60,000 IU per week. Upper and lower limb muscle strength had a standardised mean difference of 0.32 (95% CI=0.10, 0.54) and 0.32 (95% CI=0.01, 0.63) respectively, suggesting vitamin D supplementation significantly increased muscle strength in the experimental group for upper (P=0.005) and lower limbs (P=0.04).

Conclusions: Vitamin D supplementation increases upper and lower limb strength. Further research should focus on its effect on muscle power, endurance and maximal strength.

Keywords: Dietary supplementations; Muscle function; Muscle performance; Randomised controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology*
  • Vitamins / pharmacology*
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D