Vitamin D deficiency can be detrimental to health in many ways. On the one hand, a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to the development of osteoporosis, due to weakening of the bones. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, it was also found that the vast majority of hospitalised patients had low levels of this micronutrient.
Now, a new scientific study in mice published in the Journal of Endocrinology has found that there is strong evidence that vitamin D deficiency in the organism can be detrimental to muscle function. Specifically, a lack of this vitamin reduces energy production in the various muscles of the human organism.
According to the study, the mice on which the research was carried out showed a deterioration in the mitochondrial function of the muscle due to a lack of vitamin D. This would have a direct influence on the muscle’s energy production. This would have a direct influence on muscle performance and muscle recovery.
In conclusion, avoiding vitamin D deficiency in older adults could contribute to a more adequate maintenance of muscle function. In other words, having optimal levels of this micronutrient could help prevent age-related muscle deterioration. However, further research into these implications is needed.
How this vitamin 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, the possible links between this vitamin and Covid-19 have recently been proven.
Vitamin D deficiency 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 was carried out in mice by Dr Andrew Philip and his team at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia and other collaborating universities.
Vitamin d and autoimmune disease
The mice involved 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, researchers 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, analysis showed that skeletal muscle mitochondrial function was reduced by up to 37%.