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The Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency may contribute to a failure to thrive as we age.

Older couple walking outside for vitamin d

For more great information on the importance of vitamin D, consider this 4-year follow-up investigation from The Journal of Nutrition. The study involved 4,814 individuals, all of whom  were free of disability, ages 50 or older at baseline, and who participated in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

Those who were determined to be vitamin D deficient (blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D ≤30 nmol/L) had greater incidences of disability in basic activities of daily living compared with older individuals who vitamin D insufficient (blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D >30 to ≤50 nmol/L) or sufficient (blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D >50 nmol/L).

Basic activities of daily living are skills required to manage one’s fundamental physical needs, including personal hygiene, dressing, toileting, transferring or ambulating, and eating. The importance of vitamin D includes how it affects muscle functioning and several clinical conditions that can play a role in the onset of disability. The study authors believe that testing for vitamin D status and, if needed, taking steps including supplementation to alleviate a deficiency, should be one clinical strategy to help prevent disability in aging populations.

See also: Higher Vitamin D Levels Linked To Better Fitness

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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