Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not vitamin D supplement is effective in improving physical performance in older patients with heart failure over the age 50 years

STUDY DESIGN: Review of three English language primary studies, two published in 2010 and one was published in 2013.

DATA SOURCES: Two double blind randomized controlled trials (RCT) and one cross-sectional study that investigated the use of vitamin D in improving physical performance in heart failure. Sources were selected and found using PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Cochrane databases.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: The outcomes measured were improvement of physical performance, and associations among muscle strength, health status measures, and serum vitamin D. Tools used to measure were, a 6 minute walk distance test (6MWD), timed get up and go test (TGUG), isokinetic muscle testing.

RESULTS: The results of two RCT studies Boxer et al. (2013) and Witham et al. (2013) supported that vitamin D does not improve physical performance. The Boxer et al. (2010) cross-sectional study showed no association among serum vitamin D concentration, muscle strength, and health status. Boxer et al. (2013) and Witham et al. (2013) demonstrated that the 6MWD test and TGUG test did not improve with physical activity.

CONCLUSION: The results of the RCT’s and the cross-sectional study reviewed; suggest that Vitamin D does not improve the physical performance of older adults with heart failure. This topic does warrant additional research. Further studies conducted should include more frequent, lower doses of vitamin D and examine the results for a longer period of time. The effects of sun-exposure on vitamin D concentration and improvement of physical activity also should be investigated.