Objectives: In older adults, there is a blunted responsiveness to resistance training and reduced muscle hypertrophy compared with younger adults. There is evidence that both exercise training and vitamin D supplementation may benefit musculoskeletal health in older adults, and it is plausible that in combination their effects may be additive. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the effectiveness of combined resistance exercise training and vitamin D3 supplementation on musculoskeletal health in older adults.
Data sources: A comprehensive search of electronic databases, including Science Direct, Medline, PubMed, Google Scholar and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Cochrane CENTRAL accessed by Wiley Science) was conducted. Eligible studies were randomised controlled trials including men and women (aged ≥65 years or mean age ≥65 years); enlisting resistance exercise training and vitamin D3 supplementation; including outcomes of muscle strength, function, muscle power, body composition, serum vitamin D/calcium status or quality of life comparing results with a control group. The review was informed by a preregistered protocol (http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/display_record.asp?ID=CRD42015020157).
Results: Seven studies including a total of 792 participants were identified. Studies were categorised into two groups; group 1 compared vitamin D3 supplementation and exercise training versus exercise alone (describing the additive effect of vitamin D3 supplementation when combined with resistance exercise training) and group 2 compared vitamin D3 supplementation and exercise training versus vitamin D3 supplementation alone (describing the additive effect of resistance exercise training when combined with vitamin D3 supplementation).Meta-analyses for group 1 found muscle strength of the lower limb to be significantly improved within the intervention group (0.98, 95% CI 0.73 to 1.24, p<0.001); all other outcomes showed small but non-significant positive effects for the intervention group. The short physical performance battery (SPPB), timed up and go (TUG), muscle strength of the lower limb and femoral neck bone mineral density showed significantly greater improvements in the intervention group for group 2 comparisons.
Conclusions: This review provides tentative support for the additive effect of resistance exercise and vitamin D3 supplementation for the improvement of muscle strength in older adults. For other functional variables, such as SPPB and TUG, no additional benefit beyond exercise was shown. Further evidence is required to draw firm conclusions or make explicit recommendations regarding combined exercise and vitamin D3 supplementation.
Keywords: Bone diseases; GERIATRIC MEDICINE; Musculoskeletal disorders; NUTRITION & DIETETICS; Physiology; SPORTS MEDICINE.
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