Calcified Tissue International

, Volume 56, Issue 6, pp 518–520 | Cite as

Vitamin D supplementation in the elderly: Review of safety and effectiveness of different regimes

  • P. M. Byrne
  • R. Freaney
  • M. J. McKenna
Clinical Investigations


Vitamin D deficiency is common in the elderly, especially in countries where effective sunlight or exposure to sunlight is limited. Two regimes for vitamin D supplementation—low-dose daily oral administration and intermittent high-dose administration—were examined with regard to safety and effectiveness. Eleven papers reporting studies in 449 elderly subjects were reviewed. On low-dose continuous supplementation mean concentration of 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) ranged from 57 to 105 nmol/L compared to 55 to 87 nmol/L following high-dose supplementation. These mean values fall within the physiological range for young adults. Hypercalcemia occurred in only 3 subjects and was associated with a predisposing cause in 2 of 3 subjects. We suggest that low dose continuous supplementation (10 to 20 μg daily) is the regime of choice but high-dose intermittent supplementation (2.5 mg six monthly) may be suitable where compliance is poor.

Key words

Vitamin D supplementation Elderly 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. M. Byrne
    • 1
  • R. Freaney
    • 2
  • M. J. McKenna
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity College DublinDublinIreland
  2. 2.Metabolism LaboratorySt. Vincent's HospitalDublinIreland
  3. 3.Department of MedicineSt. Michael's HospitalDun LaoghaireIreland

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