Vitamin D supplementation and muscle strength in pre-sarcopenic elderly Lebanese people: a randomized controlled trial

Arch Osteoporos. 2018 Dec 19;14(1):4. doi: 10.1007/s11657-018-0553-2.


Previous studies have shown that improving vitamin D status among the elderly may lead to an improvement in muscle mass and muscle strength. In our study, vitamin D supplementation showed significant improvements in vitamin D concentrations as well as appendicular muscle mass in pre-sarcopenic older Lebanese people. However, we found no significant effect on muscle strength.

Introduction: Improving vitamin D status might improve muscle function and muscle mass that lead to sarcopenia in older subjects. The aim of this randomized, controlled, double-blind study was to examine the effect of vitamin D supplementation on handgrip strength and appendicular skeletal muscle mass in pre-sarcopenic older Lebanese subjects. We also examined whether this effect differs in normal vs. obese subjects.

Methods: Participants (n = 128; 62 men and 66 women) deficient in vitamin D (25(OH)D = 12.92 ± 4.3 ng/ml) were recruited from Saint Charles Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon. The participants were given a supplement of 10,000 IU of cholecalciferol (vitamin D group; n = 64) to be taken three times a week or a placebo tablet (placebo group; n = 64) for 6 months. One hundred fifteen subjects completed the study: 59 had normal weight, while 56 were obese. Strength and functional assessment and biochemical analysis were performed at the start and after 6 months.

Results: Compared to placebo, the vitamin D supplemented group showed significant improvements in appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASMM) (P < 0.001) but not in handgrip strength (P = 0.2901). ANCOVA for ASMM adjusting for obesity and including the interaction between obesity and vitamin D showed a significant interaction. The increase in ASMM with vitamin D in normal-weight subjects was higher than that of obese subjects (B = 35.09 vs. B = 2.19).

Conclusion: Treatment with vitamin D showed beneficial effects on appendicular muscle mass in pre-sarcopenic older Lebanese men and women. However, it had no effect on muscle strength relative to placebo. This trial was registered at as ISRCTN16665940.

Keywords: Appendicular skeletal muscle mass; Muscle strength; Nutrition; Pre-sarcopenia; Sarcopenic obesity; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Lebanon
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Sarcopenia / etiology
  • Sarcopenia / prevention & control*
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / therapy
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage*


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN16665940