Vitamin D and muscle function

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2017 Oct;173:313-316. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2017.03.018. Epub 2017 Mar 22.


Muscle weakness is a hallmark of severe vitamin D deficiency, but the effect of milder vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency on muscle mass and performance and risk of falling is uncertain. In this presentation, I review the evidence that vitamin D influences muscle mass and performance, balance, and risk of falling in older adults. Special consideration is given to the impact of both the starting 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] level and the dose administered on the clinical response to supplemental vitamin D in older men and women. Based on available evidence, older adults with serum 25(OH)D levels <40nmol/L appear most likely to improve their muscle performance with supplementation. The vitamin D dose range of 800-1000 IU per day has been effective in many studies; lower doses have generally been ineffective and several doses above this range have increased the risk of falls. In conclusion, older adults with serum 25(OH)D levels <40nmol/L are likely to have fewer falls if supplemented with 800-1000 IU per day of vitamin D.

Keywords: Falls; Muscle mass; Muscle performance; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Humans
  • Muscle Weakness / blood
  • Muscle Weakness / etiology
  • Muscle Weakness / physiopathology
  • Muscle Weakness / prevention & control*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control*
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage
  • Vitamins / blood
  • Vitamins / pharmacology
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D