Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Vitamin D and women seniors.

A large study of elderly women in the US has found that there appears to be a u-shaped link between vitamin D and frailty and death. The optimal range was found to be 20 to 30 ng/ml, with poorer outcomes below and above this range.

Over 9,700 women aged 65+ had blood levels of vitamin D checked and their level of frailty tested.

To be considered frail, women has to have at least 3 of the following factors – recent bodyweight loss of at least 5% – grip strength in the lowest fifth of those tested – walking speed in the lowest fifth – self-reported lethargy – weekly walking duration in the lowest fifth.

Taking those in the 20 to 30 ng/ml group as the reference, those with 15 to 19.9 ng/ml appeared to be more likely to be frail, though this just failed to reach statistical significance. In those with under 15 ng/ml, the risk of being frail was 47% higher, while in those above 30 ng/ml, the risk was 32% higher. The researchers noted that this U-shaped relationship existed even if those taking supplements were removed from the calculation, so the result is not skewed by those taking supplements because they are frail.

Follow up checks were offered at 6 years (when 6,300 took part) and at 10 years, and the women were tracked for an average of 4.5 years.

Considering the 4,500 women who were not frail at the start, those in the under 20 ng/ml category appeared to be more likely to die or to become frail.  Again this failed by a small margin to be statistically significant, except for the under 15 ng/ml group, which was 40% more likely to die.

The research appears in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. In an editorial, independent researchers concluded that getting blood levels into the 20 to 30 ng/ml range appeared to be safe and efficaceous.


December 9, 2010 - Posted by | Aging, Health, Success, Vitamin D

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