Taking vitamin D and calcium may improve strength and coordination in people over age 65.

Many older people have such weak muscles that they walk with a wide-based gait and can't get out of a chair. A common cause muscle weakness and pain is low levels of vitamin D. Blood levels of hydroxyvitamin D below 50 nmol/l interfere with coordination and levels below 30 nmol/l cause severe muscle weakness.

Since most people do not get enough vitamin D from their diet, they must depend on sunlight to supply them with that vitamin. Many elderly people living in northern latitudes do not get enough sunlight to meet their need for vitamin D. People with muscle weakness and lack of coordination should get blood levels for hydroxyvitamin D. Those with low levels should take 400 IU of cholecalciferol vitamin D with 1200 mg of calcium.

Osteoporosis International. 13(3):2002:187-194. Vitamin D and Muscle Function. M. Pfeifer, B. Begerow, H. W. Minne. Institute of Clinical Osteology, Gustav Pommer and Clinic Der Furstenhof, Bad Pyrmont, Germany

Checked 5/3/07

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