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Too little vitamin D does not help (muscle mass in this case) – meta-analysis Jan 2021

The effect of vitamin D plus protein supplementation on sarcopenia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Review Maturitas . 2021 Mar;145:56-63. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2021.01.002.
Nifon K Gkekas 1, Panagiotis Anagnostis 2, Vasileios Paraschou 3, Dimitrios Stamiris 4, Spilios Dellis 5, Eustathios Kenanidis 4, Michael Potoupnis 4, Eleftherios Tsiridis 4, Dimitrios G Goulis 6


The trials used daily Vitamin D (100-1600 IU) plus protein (10-44 grams)

Sarcopenia (muscle loss) and Vitamin D

Also need exercise plus a good vitamin D receptor

Sarcopenia: Nutrition and physical activity – systematic review – Jan 2017 has the following summary

  • 37 Randomized Controlled Trials of healthy seniors (those not already having Sarcopenia)
    Exercise helped in every trial
    Creatine was good too
    Protein did not help - but they failed to look at stomach acid being able to digest the protein
    400 IU of vitamin D did NOT help (need at least 800 IU after a Vitamin D loading dose)

Purpose: The exact effect of vitamin D supplementation, either as monotherapy or in combination with protein, on musculoskeletal health in patients with sarcopenia is currently unknown. This study aimed to determine the effect of vitamin D alone or with protein supplementation on muscle strength, mass, and performance in this population.

Methods: A comprehensive search was conducted in Medline, Cochrane Central and Scopus databases, up to March 31st, 2020. Data were expressed as standardized mean difference (SMD) with 95 % confidence intervals (CI). I2 index was employed for heterogeneity.

Results: The initial search identified 1164 studies, eight of which met the eligibility criteria for qualitative and quantitative analysis, yielding a total of 776 patients. Vitamin D (100-1600 IU/day) plus protein (10-44 g/day) supplementation exhibited a beneficial effect on muscle strength, as demonstrated by an improvement in handgrip strength (SMD 0.38 ± 0.07, 95 % CI 0.18-0.47, p = 0.04; I2 76.2 %) and a decrease in the sit-to-stand time (SMD 0.25 ± 0.09, 95 % CI 0.06-0.43, p = 0.007; I2 0%) compared with placebo. However, the effect on muscle mass, assessed by skeletal muscle index, was marginally non-significant (SMD 0.25 ± 0.13, 95 % CI -0.006-0.51, p = 0.05; I2 0%). No effect on appendicular skeletal muscle mass or muscle performance (assessed by walking speed) was observed with vitamin D plus protein.

Conclusions: Vitamin D supplementation, combined with protein, improves muscle strength in patients with sarcopenia, but has no effect on muscle mass or performance.

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