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THE EFFECT OF HIGH DOSE VITAMIN D3 ON PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE IN FRAIL OLDER ADULTS. A FEASIBILITY STUDY

N.W. Bray, T.J. Doherty, M. Montero-Odasso

J Frailty Aging 2018;7(3):155-161

Background: Vitamin D deficiency is ubiquitous in frailty but the effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation to improve outcomes in frail individuals is unclear. It has been postulated that higher than the current recommended doses (800 IU/day) may be needed to achieve a neuromuscular effect in frail individuals. Objectives: 1) determine if 4000 IU per day of vitamin D3 is safe for frail older adults; and 2) establish the efficacy of this dose to improve physical performance outcomes in this population. Design: Open-label, feasibility study. Setting: Community retirement centre. Participants: 40 older adults with frail or pre-frail characteristics. Intervention: 4000 IU of vitamin D3 and 1200 mcg of calcium carbonate daily for four months. Measurements: Physical performance (grip strength, gait speed and short physical performance battery score), cognitive health and vitamin D and iPTH serum levels before and after the intervention. Results: Frail individuals improved short physical performance battery score (1.19, p = 0.005), fast gait speed (4.65, p = 0.066) and vitamin D levels (7.81, p = 0.011). Only frail females made a significant improvement in grip strength (1.92, p = 0.003). Stratifying the sample by baseline vitamin D levels revealed that participants with vitamin D insufficiency (≤ 75 nmol/L) significantly improved short physical performance battery score (1.06, p = 0.04), fast gait speed (6.28, p = 0.004) and vitamin D levels (25.73, p = <0.0001). Pre-frail individuals, as well as those with sufficient vitamin D levels (> 75 nmol/L) made no significant improvement in any outcome. Conclusions: Vitamin D supplementation using 4000 IU/daily is safe and has a modest beneficial effect on physical performance for frail individuals and those with insufficient vitamin D levels. Participants with vitamin D insufficiency (≤ 75 nmol/L) showed greater benefits. Our feasibility study provides results to help calculate effect size for a future RCT.

CITATION:
N.W. Bray ; T.J. Doherty ; M. Montero-Odasso (2018): The Effect of High Dose Vitamin D3 on Physical Performance in Frail Older Adults. A Feasibility Study. The Journal of Frailty and Aging (JFA). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jfa.2018.18

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