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Vitamin D may improve muscle performance and neural plasticity, according to new study

Posted on: October 16, 2013   by  Vitamin D Council


New research presented at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Annual Meeting has found that vitamin D helps with neural health and muscle performance. This finding corroborates with past research.

Professor Robin Daly and colleagues from the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, studied generally healthy adults over the age of 60.

They enrolled 26 participants, giving half of them 2,000 IU of vitamin D/day and the half of them placebo for 10 weeks. At baseline and at the end of the study, they measured corticomotor excitability and plasticity, serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and muscle strength. They accomplished this using transcranial magnetic stimulation and measuring muscle strength via leg extension, measuring power via stair climb speed, and measuring function via timed up and go.

Over the 10 weeks, vitamin D levels rose by 13.6 ng/ml in the vitamin D group.

The vitamin D group experienced improved muscle strength and neural health compared to placebo. Those in the vitamin D group demonstrated an 8 to 11% increase in muscle strength, in addition to a reduction in cortical excitability and intercortical inhibition.

“What we saw is that vitamin D may improve muscle strength and resulted in reduction of cortical excitability and inhibition. This suggests that vitamin D may alter these inhibitory interneurons within the motor cortex and down regulate them so they don’t have such an inhibitory effect on the corticospinal neurons, and thereby enhance muscle responses,” Dr Daly said.


Vitamin D may improve neural plasticity, muscle performance in aging adults. Healio, 2013.

Daly R. Oral Poster Presentations: Clinical #FR0195. Presented at: the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 2013 Annual Meeting; Oct. 4-7, 2013; Baltimore.

1 Response to Vitamin D may improve muscle performance and neural plasticity, according to new study

  1. [email protected]

    Not sure what it means in terms of muscle performance- with less cortical inhibition does that result in faster reflexes? Increased velocity? More strength?

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