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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1991 Nov;73(5):1111-7.

1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 and muscle strength in the elderly: a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Veterans Administration Medical Center, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco 94121.


An unexplained loss of muscle strength occurs with aging. Vitamin D deficiency can cause myopathy and administration of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25-(OH2)D3] to persons with low serum concentrations can improve strength. To test the hypothesis that the weakness associated with aging is in part due to inadequate serum concentrations of [1,25-(OH2)D3], we conducted a randomized, controlled, double blinded trial in 98 men and women volunteers over 69 yr old. Treatment consisted of 0.25 micrograms 1,25-(OH)2D3, orally, twice per day or identical placebo for 6 months. Leg muscle strength of the quadriceps was measured with an isokinetic dynamometer. There was no difference between the two groups at 1 week, 1 month, or 6 months of treatment in any of the measures of muscle strength. We conclude that oral administration of 0.5 micrograms 1,25-(OH)2D3/day does not improve muscle strength in older persons. Further research is needed to determine the etiology of the decline in muscle strength associated with aging.

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