John Libbey Eurotext

Gériatrie et Psychologie Neuropsychiatrie du Vieillissement


Vitamin D in the elderly: 5 points to remember Volume 9, issue 3, Septembre 2011


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Département de médecine interne et gériatrie, Centre hospitalier universitaire d’Angers ; Centre Mémoire Ressources Recherche ; UPRES EA 2646, Université d’Angers, UNAM, Angers, Gérontopôle Pays de Loire, France, Laboratoire de physiologie, Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris Necker, Paris, Hospices civils de Lyon, Pôle IMER Université de Lyon ; Inserm U 831, RECIF, Lyon, Département de gériatrie, Centre hospitalier universitaire de Nantes ; Université de Nantes, UNAM, Nantes

Vitamin D is a secosteroid hormone. Vitamin D receptors are present in the majority of body tissues. The manifestations of hypovitaminosis D – linked to dysfunction of target tissues – are various, including osteoporosis, cancer, tuberculosis, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, depression, dementia, sarcopenia, propensity to fall… The serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D threshold value to avoid these adverse health events is around 30 ng/mL. Only 15% of the elderly reach this target concentration. For the remaining 85% with no supplements, the severity of hypovitaminosis D appears to be a biomarker of chronic diseases and of frailty. Conversely, the supplementation for correction of hypovitaminosis D positively impacts bone and non-bone morbidities - such as risks of falls and fractures - and reduces the mortality rate. A daily intake of at least 800-1,000 IU supplemental vitamin D 3 per day is the key.