, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 11-21
Date: 02 Jun 2010

Vitamin D and health status in elderly

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Recently, vitamin D has aroused considerable interest for several reasons. Many epidemiological studies have shown a widespread deficiency of vitamin D at all ages, and the recent finding that many organs and tissues have vitamin D receptors has fostered the clinical and biological relevance of vitamin D. Elderly people are at high risk for vitamin D deficiency if their life style entails few outdoor activities, their skin is thick and they exhibit impairment of renal function. In the elderly, vitamin D deficiency is very important because it can affect the function of many organs such as the muscle–skeletal, cardio-vascular systems and kidney, and may be involved in various diseases and pathological conditions including type II diabetes, cancer and cognitive decline. In the present review, the most relevant features of vitamin D are described as well as the clinical consequences of hypovitaminosis D in the elderly. Finally, the role of an adequate oral supplementation in the geriatric population is stressed.