1 RESEARCH ARTICLE
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)
– Vitamin D can significantly increase muscle strength and reduce the loss of body muscle mass in women as late as 12+ years after menopause
– Vit D deficiency is a common problem in postmenopausal women, creating muscle weakness and a greater tendency for falling
– The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted over a nine-month period
– 160 women ages 50 to 65
– Women in the supplement group received 1000IU of cholecalciferol, a form of vitamin D3, daily
– Women not receiving Vitamin D supplements were nearly two times as likely to fall.
– “We concluded that the supplementation of Vitamin D alone provided significant protection against the occurrence of sarcopenia, which is a degenerative loss of skeletal muscle, says Dr. L.M. Cangussu, one of the lead authors of the study from the Botucatu Medical School at Sao Paulo State University
– 45% increase in muscle strength in women receiving the supplements over the study’s nine-month period, compared to a 23% loss in the control group
– The women in the control group lost an average of 6.8 percent muscle mass, while the supplement group showed no loss
– Following menopause, vitamin D deficiency is common
– “The menopause process causes hypoestrogenism, which causes decreased strength and muscle mass,” Cangussu said. “This loss of muscle mass and strength leads to increased risk of falls and fractures.”
– Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in few foods and is produced when ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun hit the skin and start synthesis
– The body uses it to promote calcium absorption in the gut, as well as for bone growth and remodeling
– Study authors said this is the first study to prove vitamin D supplementation alone was protective against musculoskeletal complications in younger women, and they noted that previous studies were associated with an older population.