Vitamin D and Ageing
One hundred years has passed since the discovery of vitamin D as the active component of cod-liver oil which cured the bone disease rickets. Since then our knowledge of vitamin D has expanded tremendously and has included recognition of the importance of UV radiation as a source of the vitamin as well as the discovery of the vitamin as a nutrient, a pro-hormone and a potent steroid hormone with a major role in calcium and bone metabolism. In the last 25 years or so, the discovery of the vitamin D receptor in over 30 different body tissues together with the existence of the alpha-1-hydroxylase enzyme in these tissues provided evidence of a pleiotropic role of vitamin D outside its classical role in the skeleton. These important discoveries have provided the basis for the increasing interest in vitamin D in the context of nutritional requirements for health including the prevention of chronic diseases of ageing. The recent publication of the Dietary Reference Intake report on vitamin D and calcium by the North American Institute of Medicine (IOM) is the most comprehensive report to date on the basis for setting nutritional requirements for vitamin D. This chapter will summarize the nutritional aspects of vitamin D and discuss the changes in vitamin D metabolism and requirements with ageing. It will summarize key evidence on the relationship between vitamin D status and some of the main ageing related health outcomes including bone, muscle and cognitive health as well as survival focusing on the published literature in very-old adults (those >= 85 years of age).
KeywordsVitamin D Very-old adults Metabolism and function Nutritional requirements Epidemiology Musculoskeletal health Cognitive health Mortality
This work did not receive external funding.
Declaration of Conflicts of Interest
Dr. Tom Hill has received industry funding from Noble Foods Ltd, Nutricia Ltd and the UK Dairy Council.
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