Physical exercises are highly effective in slowing muscle wasting and loss of function. However, whether vitamin D deficiency can interfere with this process in elderly individuals remains unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of 25(OH)D supplementation along with physical exercise in elderly women in an intervention study design.
We analyzed data from elderly women aged ≥ 60 years (mean age, 67 ± 5 years) who exercised regularly for at least one year at the Social Service of Commerce Santana, Community Center. We included 146 elderly women in the aquatic training program (AT), 99 elderly women in the multifunctional fitness program (MF), and 100 community-dwelling elderly women who had not been exercising for the last year as the control group (CT). In each group, we administered cholecalciferol to those who had 25(OH)D levels below the median levels. The individuals in the aquatic training supplemented group (ATSG), multifunctional fitness supplemented group (MFSG), and control supplemented group (CTSG) received one bottle of cholecalciferol each. They were instructed to consume 21,000 IU/week (4 drops/week) of cholecalciferol for 12 months. The timed up-and-go (TUG) test, 2-min step (2MST), 30-s chair stand (CS), functional reach (FRT), unipedal balance test with visual control (UB), and a portable dynamometer for the strength of hip flexors (HS) were conducted, and the serum 25(OH)D and intact parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels were measured at the beginning and end of the 12 months. The treatments were compared using a general linear model for repeated measures, with p < 0.005.
There was a significant increase in 25(OH)D levels in ATSG (p < 0.001), MFSG (p < 0.001), and CTSG (p < 0.001). The relationship between 25(OH)D levels and physical exercise was significant in TUG (p = 0.005), UB (p = 0.03), HS (p < 0.001), CS (p = 0.04), and 2MST (p = 0.02).
We found an interaction of 25(OH)D levels with physical exercise in elderly women for maintaining independence in daily activities and performance.