By: Talking Nutrition Editors
Vitamin D, also known as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced by humans, animals and fungi in the presence of the sun’s ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays. 1 It has most recently been in the spotlight for its role in immunity, 2 but it’s important to remember its benefits for mobility too.
Good mobility is essential for an active lifestyle, healthy independence and a rich quality of life. But several factors – including the natural aging process, poor nutrition, low physical activity, obesity, certain medications and chronic disease –can lead to weakness, reduced flexibility, slower movement and, ultimately, impaired mobility. 3 This is an increasing concern given we live in a world where obesity is extremely prevalent and the proportion of the elderly population is expected to double by 2050. 4, 5 As such, sustaining good mobility is a key health priority worldwide. In fact, 65% of consumers admitted they were worried about mobility, and senior adults (50-65 years of age) ranked mobility as their second biggest health concern globally. 6
Vitamin D is well-recognized for its contribution to healthy mobility because of its important role in bone and muscle health. But it doesn’t work alone. Vitamin D helps the body absorb important minerals for bone strength, such as calcium and phosphorous. Studies have shown that vitamin D levels are associated with absorption of dietary calcium. 7, 8
Vitamin D deficiencies can lead to low levels of calcium, which – in turn – can trigger the release of calcium from bones for use in the bloodstream. the development of debilitating bone-related conditions like rickets in children or osteomalacia in adults. 9 In addition, inadequate vitamin D status increases the risk of falls, fractures and frailty which have a negative impact on quality of life and independence. 10, 11
The role of vitamin D in mobility extends beyond bones. Since muscles rely on calcium for nerve transmission and muscle contraction, maintaining adequate vitamin D levels is also essential for healthy muscle function. xi Not only this, but vitamin D can directly promote the synthesis of muscle fibers, enhancing fiber size and improving overall strength. xi
Achieving optimal levels of vitamin D, especially in the winter months when our skin is exposed to less sun, is challenging. To add to these difficulties, few foods naturally provide vitamin D. The best food sources of vitamin D are oily fish, egg yolks, red meat and liver. While maintaining a healthy and balanced diet that includes these foods is one way in which we can obtain vitamin D, it’s unlikely to supply us with enough. i
As a result, some products, like milks and cereals, have been fortified to increase vitamin D intake in the general population. Despite this, 88% of the world’s population has sub-optimal vitamin D levels. 12, 13 Dietary supplements are a convenient way in which people can boost their vitamin D intake, but it’s not aways a quick fix. Most supplements take months to build up to optimum status levels.
To expedite the increase of vitamin D concentrations, researchers have explored innovative ingredients – like calcifediol. When vitamin D3 supplements are metabolized in the liver, calcifediol is formed. 14 The increased bioavailability of calcifediol means it can elevate vitamin D levels faster – in just a matter of weeks xii, 15, 16 – to potentially unlock vitamin D benefits more rapidly than vitamin D3.
To drive innovation in this space, we developed a next generation calcifediol solution – ampli-D® . A clinical trial comprising 91 healthy older adults was conducted to compare the effectiveness of ampli-D® to standard vitamin D3 supplements. xv Results clearly indicated that ampli-D® was more easily used and absorbed by the body, achieving optimal levels of vitamin D up to three times faster than regular vitamin D3. xv But what about its role in mobility?
Available scientific research suggests the promising potential of calcifediol for mobility health. Two studies reported positive mobility outcomes for older adults consuming calcifediol. 17, 18, 19 Calcifediol supplementation increased muscle strength by 17%, gait speed by 18% and muscular function by almost three times compared to regular vitamin D3 in older women. Improved lower extremity muscle strength and function was further supported in a second study, with improved performance in Timed-Up-And-Go and Sit-To-Stand tests.
Because mobility is crucial for people of all ages to maintain an active lifestyle, the ability of ampli-D® to rapidly promote vitamin D status makes it a promising supplement for supporting bone and muscle health in kids and teens as well as adults and seniors. For manufacturers looking to innovate in the mobility health space and bring enhanced vitamin D solutions to consumers of all ages, ampli-D® is an effective and proven solution.
At dsm-firmenich, our dietary supplements team can help you create breakthrough products that are fueled by consumer insights, crafted with our expert services and brought to market faster with market-ready solutions such as ampli-D ® .
To learn more about the role of ampli-D ® in supporting mobility, download our brochure.
20 September 2023
4 min read
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