We Are Sunshine

Vitamin D Good for the Elderly

Thursday, May 13th, 2010


Two studies released this week show that higher vitamin D levels benefit elderly people — with one study showing that those with higher vitamin D levels are less likely to suffer from depression and another study saying that elderly need even more vitamin D for proper bone health.

“Many studies have been published recently on the potential health benefits of vitamin D, and the potential risks of deficiency. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and more severe asthma. In older people, insufficient vitamin D is quite common, and has been linked to fractures, worse physical function, greater frailty, and a wide variety of chronic illness,” Reuters reported.

A new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism adds depression to the list of diseases linked to vitamin D deficiency — although the authors say larger studies are needed to solidify that result.

“It’s obvious that vitamin D deficiency is a function of not getting enough sunlight, and it doesn’t take a researcher to tell you that low sun exposure and depression go hand in hand,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “I think this is a case of researchers not wanting to over-play the obvious because they’d like to continue their work. But in the real world, people can figure this one out themselves.”

The report comes at the same time that the National Osteoporosis Foundation has upped its recommendation for vitamin D intake in older adults — suggesting that 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D may be needed, particularly for those who get limited sun exposure or are obese. The government’s current recommendation for the elderly is just 600 IU, but vitamin D experts suggest 2,000 to 5,000 IU are needed.

To read the Reuters report on Vitamin D and depression click here.

To read about the National Osteoporosis Foundation’s recommendation click here.