Vitamin D has no shortage of health benefits that are essential to a fit lifestyle. Now, research done by the University of Birmingham has shown that it may also improve muscle strength.

Researchers found that participants, particularly women, with higher levels of active vitamin D also tended to have more lean muscle mass. This correlation could mean that active vitamin D can optimize muscle strength and function.

The study, published in the journal PLOS One, examined both active and inactive vitamin D levels in 116 participants aged 20 to 74 to discover the vitamin’s impact on muscle strength. They also took participants’ body fat and lean mass percentages.

“We have a good understanding of how vitamin D helps bone strength, but we still need to learn more about how it works for muscles,” Dr. Zaki Hassan-Smith told Medical News Today. “When you look at significant challenges facing healthcare providers across the world, such as obesity and an aging population, you can see how optimizing muscle function is of great interest.”

by Rose McNulty