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New Guidelines Released On Vitamin D For Seniors

May 13, 2010

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) has released a new position statement on Vitamin D requirements for older adults. Vitamin D is important for bone and muscle development, function and preservation, making D a vital component in the maintenance of bone strength and in the prevention of falls and osteoporotic fractures. ?The objective of this statement, published in the leading bone journal, Osteoporosis International, was to use and examine all available evidence to support new recommendations for optimal vitamin D status. ?The best available indicator of vitamin D status is serum 25OHD and vitamin D intake and effective sun exposure are the major determinants of this level. Serum 25OHD levels decline with aging, but the response to vitamin D3 supplementation is not affected by age or by usual calcium dietary intake. Preventing vitamin D deficiency has a major impact on falls and osteoporotic fractures. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with decreased muscle strength in older men and women and supplementation improves lower limb strength and reduces risk of falling. Vitamin D affects fracture risk through its effect on bone metabolism and on falls risk. ??
Key recommendations:

  • The estimated average vitamin D requirement of older adults to reach the proper serum 25OHD level is 800 to 1000 IU a day
  • Intakes may need to increase to as much as 2000 IU per day in individuals who are obese, have osteoporosis, limited sun exposure (e.g. housebound or institutionalised), or have problems absorbing it.
  • For high risk individuals it is recommended to measure serum 25OHD levels and treat if deficient.

According to the lead author of the statement, Professor Bess Dawson-Hughes of Tufts University, “Global vitamin D status shows widespread insufficiency and deficiency. This high prevalence of suboptimal levels raises the possibility that many falls and fractures can be prevented with vitamin D supplementation. This is a relatively easy public health measure that could have significant positive effects on the incidence of osteoporotic fractures.”?Much of our milk is vitamin D fortified and delivers needed calcium with it—add low-fat dairy to your diet and talk to your doctor about whether you need a supplement.