Muscular Effects of Vitamin D in Young Athletes and Non-Athletes and in the Elderly

Hormones (Athens). 2016 Oct;15(4):471-488. doi: 10.14310/horm.2002.1705.

Abstract

Muscles are major targets of vitamin D. Exposure of skeletal muscles to vitamin D induces the expression of multiple myogenic transcription factors enhancing muscle cell proliferation and differentiation. At the same time vitamin D suppresses the expression of myostatin, a negative regulator of muscle mass. Moreover, vitamin D increases the number of type II or fast twitch muscle cells and in particular that of type IIA cells, while its deficiency causes type IIA cell atrophy. Furthermore, vitamin D supplementation in young males with low vitamin D levels increases the percentage of type IIA fibers in muscles, causing an increase in muscular high power output. Vitamin D levels are strongly associated with exercise performance in athletes and physically active individuals. In the elderly and in adults below the age of 65, several studies have established a close association between vitamin D levels and neuromuscular coordination. The aim of this review is to appraise our current understanding of the significance of vitamin D on muscular performance in both older and frail individuals as well as in younger adults, athletes or non-athletes with regard to both ordinary everyday musculoskeletal tasks and peak athletic performance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Sarcopenia / blood*
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology*
  • Vitamin D / physiology*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Vitamin D