Vitamin D and the impact on bone health of seniors

Vitamin D and the impact on bone health of seniors
Mar 7, 2016

Senior citizens are prone to having low levels of vitamin D. This is a serious issue which could lead to devastating consequences such as falls, fractures and osteoporosis.

Vitamin D and falls in older individuals

An analysis of several double-blind randomized clinical trials demonstrated that by supplementing with 700 to 1000 IU vitamin D per day, an older people reduce their risk of falling by 20 per cent, whether or not they were also taking calcium supplements [1]

Vitamin D and fractures in older individuals

Vitamin D in combination with calcium is often used in an attempt to decrease the risk of fractures in bones other than the vertebrae in older individuals [2][3] particularly those in institutional care.[3] An analysis of multiple vitamin D studies determined that a dose of vitamin D 400 IU per day or greater is helpful for individuals aged 65 years or older.[4]

Vitamin D and osteoporosis in older individuals

Osteoporosis consists of a progressive loss of bone mass. Most of our bone mass is built up from the age of 10 to 20 or 30, and after that, we start losing bone mass. [5][6] If too much bone mass is lost as we get older, our bones become fragile and may fracture more easily. Osteoporosis is a devastating and costly disease affecting 10 million Americans; another 34 million have low bone mass, making them more susceptible to osteoporosis.[7] Without intervention, one in two women and one in three men age 50 and above will experience a fracture due to osteoporosis.[7] The hip, spine, and wrist are the most common sites of fracture, with the hip fracture having the most devastating complications.[8]

Surprisingly, only 20 per cent of people who have suffered a hip or other fracture due to osteoporosis receive treatment. [7]

We are not able to provide you with a recommendation for how much vitamin D one should take on a daily basis. We recommend that you speak with a healthcare professional about your personal situation. In the meantime, here is a brief summary of the daily vitamin D supplementation guidelines by various medical organizations:

Osteoporosis Canada also suggests that vitamin D supplementation should take place all year round.[9]





About the author:

Natalie Bourré | Healthcare Blogger

Natalie works as a consultant for various medical organizations and pharmaceutical companies. Her goal is to help them communicate accurate medical information in patient-friendly language via traditional and digital marketing methods.


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