Hypovitaminosis D in the elderly: From bone to brain

  • E. P. CherniackEmail author
  • H. Florez
  • B. A. Roos
  • B. R. Troen
  • S. Levis


There is a growing consensus that vitamin D recommended daily intakes for the elderly are far too low, and that all individuals should take as much vitamin D as needed to raise levels to between 32 to 40 ng/ml (80 to 100 nmol/L) (5, 108, 109). Supplementation will likely be necessary in most elderly, since according to current lifestyles, diet and sunlight alone are inadequate sources of vitamin D (17). We believe that to raise and maintain 25(OH) vitamin D levels at a minimum of 32 ng/ml (80 nmol/L), most elderly will require at least 2,000 IU of cholecalciferol per day.

But many questions remain. Are other biological markers preferable to 25(OH) vitamin D to assess repletion? Do the current estimates of optimal serum levels provide health benefits for all conditions, or do optimal vitamin D levels differ depending on the target tissue? How much vitamin D, cholecalciferol, or ergocalciferol, should be given to maintain these levels? What are the molecular mechanisms by which vitamin D influences health and disease?

Cross-sectional studies have suggested that low vitamin D levels not only predict nursing home admission but also are associated with increased mortality (1, 2). Further knowledge of the mechanisms of vitamin D action and prospective clinical trials designed to determine if supplementation resulting in vitamin D levels higher than those shown to reduce the risk of falls and fractures is also effective in reducing the burden of various medical conditions could help validate a cost-effective intervention that will provide greater quality of life and longevity and have a major public health impact.


Predict Nursing Home Admission 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France and Serdi Éditions 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. P. Cherniack
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • H. Florez
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. A. Roos
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. R. Troen
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Levis
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center and Research ServiceMiami Veterans Affairs Healthcare SystemUSA
  2. 2.Geriatrics Institute and Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, Miller School of MedicineUniversity of MiamiMiami

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