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Vitamin D Deficiency in Older Adults, Part I: the Prevention of Chronic Degenerative Disease and Support of Immune Health

Aileen Burford-Mason, PhD, President, Holistic Health Research Foundation of Canada, Toronto, ON.

Accumulated research evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency has profound implications for health and well-being, compromising immune responses and increasing the risk for osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, depression, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Older adults, especially those who are housebound, are at increased risk for vitamin D deficiency. In addition to sun avoidance and the use of sunscreen, age, ethnicity, and obesity are risk factors for vitamin D deficiency. This article discusses the use of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D to assess vitamin D needs and outlines current recommendations on appropriate interventions to improve vitamin D status in older adults.
Key words: vitamin D, older adults, supplements, UVB exposure, immunity.