Influences of Vitamin D and Iron Status on Skeletal Muscle Health: A Narrative Review

Marni E. Shoemaker, Owen F. Salmon, Cory M. Smith, Maria O. Duarte-Gardea, Joel T. Cramer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


There is conflicting evidence of the roles vitamin D and iron have in isolation and combined in relation to muscle health. The purpose of this narrative review was to examine the current literature on the roles that vitamin D and iron have on skeletal muscle mass, strength, and function and how these nutrients are associated with skeletal muscle health in specific populations. Secondary purposes include exploring if low vitamin D and iron status are interrelated with skeletal muscle health and chronic inflammation and reviewing the influence of animal-source foods rich in these nutrients on health and performance. PubMed, Scopus, SPORT Discus, EMBAE, MEDLINE, and Google Scholar databases were searched to determine eligible studies. There was a positive effect of vitamin D on muscle mass, particularly in older adults. There was a positive effect of iron on aerobic and anaerobic performance. Studies reported mixed results for both vitamin D and iron on muscle strength and function. While vitamin D and iron deficiency commonly occur in combination, few studies examined effects on skeletal muscle health and inflammation. Isolated nutrients such as iron and vitamin D may have positive outcomes; however, nutrients within food sources may be most effective in improving skeletal muscle health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2717
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • animal food sources
  • iron
  • muscle function
  • muscle mass
  • muscle strength
  • vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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