The role of vitamin D supplementation and its benefits in postmenopausal women remains controversial. A very recent study indicated that such supplementation does not alleviate the symptoms associated with this change in life but a new study suggests some other benefits. It has been widely known that hypovitaminosis D leads to loss of muscle mass in aging women and could be reduced by taking vitamin D. The findings in the new study support this belief.
Results from a study conducted by the Botucatu Medical School at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil are claiming that vitamin D supplementation actually increases the strength of muscles and minimises the loss of body muscle mass in women even as late as 12 years following the menopause. These findings are reported at the 2015 Annual Meeting of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), in Las Vegas that started on the 30th September.
Lack of Vitamin D has been widely seen as a major issue for postmenopausal women globally. There is a general trend for muscle weakness, loss of muscle and loss of balance and stability which can produce an increased risk of injury such as fractures and breaks from falling.
The latest study looked at muscle mass in postmenopausal women using a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted for nine months. Muscle mass was determined using total-body DXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry), measures of handgrip strength and a chair-rising test.
Following completion of the study, those women that received vitamin D showed a significant increase by 25.3% in their muscle strength. Women taking a placebo saw about 6.8% of muscle mass disappear. It was also notable that those women not receiving the supplements were also nearly twice as likely to fall over.
Dr. L.M. Cangussu, one of the lead authors of the study affirmed;
“We concluded that the supplementation of Vitamin D alone provided significant protection against the occurrence of sarcopenia, which is a degenerative loss of skeletal muscle”
Dr. Wulf H. Utian, speaking on behalf of The North American Menopause Society claimed:
“While this study is unlikely to decide the debate over vitamin D, it provides further evidence to support the use of vitamin D supplements by postmenopausal women in an effort to reduce frailty and an increased risk of falling.”
If you are interested in vitamin D, its role in ensuring good bone growth and what happens when it is lacking, please see our article on the general aspects about it (see post). If you are interested in purchasing supplements then please access our page on vitamin D where we offer them in association with our affiliated marketing partners.