Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 273–282 | Cite as

Vitamin D in physiological and pathological aging: Lesson from centenarians

  • Evelyn Ferri
  • Martina Casati
  • Matteo Cesari
  • Giovanni Vitale
  • Beatrice ArosioEmail author


Vitamin D is a secosteroid hormone that exerts a pleiotropic action on a wide spectrum of tissues, apparatuses and systems. Thus, vitamin D has assumed an increasingly dominant role as a key determinant of biological mechanisms and specific clinical conditions. Older people frequently present vitamin D deficiency, a status potentially influencing several mechanisms responsible for different age-related diseases. Centenarians symbolize the ideal model for investigating the peculiar traits of longevity, as they have reached an age close to the estimated limit of the human lifespan. Interestingly, despite the profound heterogeneity of centenarians in terms of health status, all these people share the same condition of severe vitamin D deficiency, suggesting that they may have implemented a number of adaptive strategies to cope with the age-related physiological derangement of vitamin D metabolism. The lesson deriving from centenarians’ experience suggests that: i) severe vitamin D deficiency does not preclude the possibility of reaching extreme longevity, ii) strategies to prevent hypovitaminosis D may be useful to slow down the processes of “fragilization” occurring in aged people, iii) beneficial effects of vitamin D supplementation need to be confirmed regarding longevity.


Vitamin D Aging Centenarians GeroScience Longevity 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geriatric Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore PoliclinicoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health (DISCCO)University of MilanMilanItaly
  3. 3.Istituto Auxologico Italiano, IRCCS, Laboratorio Sperimentale di Ricerche di Neuroendocrinologia Geriatrica ed OncologicaMilanItaly

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