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‘Sunshine’ vitamin D deficiency can lead to weaker muscles and less movement as people age

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The ‘sunshine’ vitamin D could boost muscle strength in the elderly, according to a new study.

Not getting enough sunlight can lead to weaker muscles and less movement as people age, according to a new study.

According to some reports, around 42% population has low vitamin D levels in the US.

Vitamin D is a hormone well known to be important for maintaining bone health and preventing rickets and osteoporosis. Some reports suggest a deficiency can increase the risk of Covid-19, cancer, and diabetes.

To understand this more deeply, researchers exploring vitamin D in muscle performance of older people used a mouse model over a period of three months.

Tissue and blood samples were collected monthly to quantify vitamin D and calcium concentrations and to assess markers of muscle mitochondrial function and number.

After three months of diet-induced vitamin D deficiency, skeletal muscle mitochondrial function was found to be impaired by up to 37 percent. This was not due to a reduced number of mitochondria or a reduction in muscle mass.

The findings also suggest vitamin D deficiency may impair mitochondrial function, the energy that can be produced in the muscle.

Therefore, preventing vitamin D deficiency in older people may help maintain muscle performance and reduce the risk of muscle-related diseases such as sarcopenia.

Dr. Andrew Philp, from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia, said:

“Our results show there is a clear link between vitamin D deficiency and oxidative capacity in skeletal muscle.

“They suggest that vitamin D deficiency decreases mitochondrial function, as opposed to reducing the number of mitochondria in skeletal muscle.

“We are particularly interested to examine whether this reduction in mitochondrial function may be a cause of age-related loss in skeletal muscle mass and function.”

Vitamin D, which is also obtained through eating things like fatty fish, egg yolks, and cheese, has been found to be vital for muscles to not deteriorate.

The study was published in the Journal of Endocrinology.

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