Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Muscle Strength, Gait and Balance in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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To systematically review and quantitatively synthesize the effect of vitamin D supplementation on muscle strength, gait, and balance in older adults.


Systematic review and meta-analysis.


MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, bibliographies of selected articles, and previous systematic reviews were searched between January 1980 and November 2010 for eligible articles.


Older adults (≥60) participating in randomized controlled trials of the effect of supplemental vitamin D without an exercise intervention on muscle strength, gait, and balance.


Data were independently extracted, and study quality was evaluated. Meta-analysis using a fixed-effects model was performed and the I2 statistic was used to assess heterogeneity.


Of 714 potentially relevant articles, 13 met the inclusion criteria. In the pooled analysis, vitamin D supplementation yielded a standardized mean difference of −0.20 (95% confidence interval (CI) = −0.39 to −0.01, P = .04, I2 = 0%) for reduced postural sway, −0.19 (95% CI = −0.35 to −0.02, P = .03, I2 = 0%) for decreased time to complete the Timed Up and Go Test, and 0.05 (95% CI = −0.11 to 0.20, P = .04, I2 = 0%) for lower extremity strength gain. Regarding dosing frequency regimen, only one study demonstrated a beneficial effect on balance with a single large dose. All studies with daily doses of 800 IU or more demonstrated beneficial effects on balance and muscle strength.


Supplemental vitamin D with daily doses of 800 to 1,000 IU consistently demonstrated beneficial effects on strength and balance. An effect on gait was not demonstrated, although further evaluation is recommended.

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