Vitamin D deficiency can be detrimental to health in many ways. On the one hand, a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to the onset of osteoporosis, due to the weakening of the bones. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, it was also found that the vast majority of hospitalized patients had low levels of this micronutrient.
Now, a new scientific study carried out in mice and published in the ‘Journal of Endocrinology’ has shown that there is significant evidence that vitamin D deficiency in the organism can be detrimental to muscle function. Specifically, the lack of this vitamin reduces the production of energy in the different muscles of the human body.
According to the previous study, the mice in which the research was carried out show a deterioration of muscular mitochondrial function due to a lack of vitamin D. All this would have a direct impact on muscle performance and recovery.
In summary, avoiding vitamin D deficiency in older adults may help to better maintain muscle function. In other words, optimal levels of this micronutrient could help prevent age-related loss of muscle mass. However, there is a need to further investigate these implications.
How vitamin D influences muscle function
Vitamin D has been shown to be a vital micronutrient for bone health, helping to prevent or delay diseases such as rickets, osteoporosis, or osteomalacia. In addition, possible links between this vitamin and Covid-19 have recently been proven.
Lack of vitamin D is common in virtually the entire European population and has recently been linked to an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, or even Covid-19 infection.
However, a new study has put the spotlight on muscle function. The research work has been carried out in mice by Dr. Andrew Philip and his team at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia; in addition to other collaborating universities.
The mice that participated in this research had vitamin D values of 30nmol.L1, and diet-induced vitamin D deficiency led to levels of only 3 nmol.L-1.
During the clinical trial, the investigators took monthly tissue and blood samples to quantify vitamin D and calcium concentrations; to assess the number of muscle mitochondria.
After three months of vitamin D deficiency, the analysis showed that skeletal muscle mitochondrial function was reduced by up to 37%.