Vitamin D and limb strength

Dr Paul Clayton’s Health Newsletter Autumn 2015

Vitamin D supplementation significantly increases upper and lower limb strength, a review of seven trials has found.

Previous research on vitamin D has focused on supplementation and muscle strength in frail, deficient and elderly women. This latest review – compiled by researchers at Queen Mary University of London – was the first systematic summary of the impact on muscle strength in young, healthy individuals and included data from 310 adults with an average age of between 21.5 and 31.5 years.

The seven trials, which included 67% females, lasted from four weeks to six months while dosages ranged from 4,000 international units (IU) per day to 60,000 IU per week.

“This review has found that vitamin D3 supplementation improves upper and lower limb muscle strength in a healthy, adult, athletic and non-athletic population between the ages of 18 and 40,” the authors wrote in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

The two studies that reported the most significant results employed total dosages between 60,000 and 14,000 IU of vitamin D per week for six to four months.

That said, further research is still needed to clarify its effect on muscle power, endurance and maximum strength.



Tomlinson PB, Joseph C, Angioi M. … Vitamin D supplementation on upper and lower body muscle strength. .. Review with meta-analysis J Sci Med Sport 18, Iss 5, 575–580,doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2014.07.022