Lumbar disc degeneration (LDD) is one of the fundamental causes of low back pain. The aims of this study were to determine serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels and physical performance and to investigate the relationship between serum vitamin D levels, muscle strength and physical activity in elderly patients with LDD. The participants were 200 LDD patients, including 155 females and 45 males aged 60 years and over. Data on body mass index and body composition were collected. Serum 25(OH)D and parathyroid hormone levels were measured. Serum 25(OH)D was classified into the insufficiency group: <30 ng/mL and the sufficiency group: ≥30 ng/mL. Muscle strength was assessed by grip strength, and physical performance (short physical performance battery) was evaluated by the balance test, chair stand test, gait speed, and Timed Up and Go (TUG) test. Serum 25(OH)D levels in LDD patients with vitamin D insufficiency were significantly lower than in those with vitamin D sufficiency (p < 0.0001). LDD patients with vitamin D insufficiency had a prolonged time in physical performance on gait speed (p = 0.008), chair stand test (p = 0.013), and TUG test (p = 0.014) compared to those with vitamin D sufficiency. Additionally, we found that serum 25(OH)D levels were significantly correlated with gait speed (r = -0.153, p = 0.03) and TUG test (r = -0.168, p = 0.017) in LDD patients. No significant associations with serum 25(OH)D status were observed for grip strength and balance tests among patients. These findings demonstrate that higher serum 25(OH)D levels are associated with better physical performance in LDD patients.
Keywords: 25(OH)D; insufficiency; lumbar disc degeneration; physical performance; vitamin D status.