Intramyocellular (IMCL), extramyocellular lipid (EMCL), and vitamin D deficiency are associated with muscle metabolic dysfunction. This study compared the change in [IMCL]:[EMCL] following the combined treatment of vitamin D and aerobic training (DAT) compared with vitamin D (D), aerobic training (AT), and control (CTL). Male and female subjects aged 60–80 years with a BMI ranging from 18.5–34.9 and vitamin D status of ≤ 32 ng/mL (25(OH)D) were recruited to randomized, prospective clinical trial double-blinded for supplement with a 2 × 2 factorial design. Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) (10,000 IU × 5 days/week) or placebo was provided for 13 weeks and treadmill aerobic training during week 13. Gastrocnemius IMCL and EMCL were measured with magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and MRI. Hybrid near-infrared diffuse correlation spectroscopy measured hemodynamics. Group differences in IMCL were observed when controlling for baseline IMCL (p = 0.049). DAT was the only group to reduce IMCL from baseline, while a mean increase was observed in all other groups combined (p = 0.008). IMCL reduction and the corresponding increase in rVO2 at study end (p = 0.011) were unique to DAT. Vitamin D, when combined with exercise, may potentiate the metabolic benefits of exercise by reducing IMCL and increasing tissue-level VO2 in healthy, older adults.

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Published in Nutrients, v. 11, issue 4, 930, p. 1-17.

© 2019 by the authors.

Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This work was supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIH R21AG046762), along with assistance from UL1TR001998, T32DK007778-16 and 1P20GM121327-01.