The Role of Vitamin D in the Aging Adult

(Pages 60-71)

Meghan Meehan and Sue Penckofer

School of Nursing, Loyola University Chicago, IL., USA

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12974/2309-6128.2014.02.02.1

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Abstract: The number of individuals aged 65 and older is expected to more than double from 2012 to 2060. The role of vitamin D in the prevention and treatment of diseases associated with aging has not been well studied. Traditionally, the role of vitamin D focused on the maintenance of skeletal health in the older adult. With the discovery of vitamin D receptors in the nervous, cardiovascular and endocrine systems, the role of vitamin D and its impact on these systems has become an important area of research. Older adults are at risk for lower levels of vitamin D as a result of decreased cutaneous synthesis and dietary intake of vitamin D. Epidemiologic evidence indicates an association between low levels of vitamin D and diseases associated with aging such as cognitive decline, depression, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Clinical trials to determine the benefit of vitamin D supplementation in preventing and treating such diseases are in progress. This paper highlights current evidence regarding the role that vitamin D may play in diseases associated with aging and addresses the need for well-designed randomized trials to examine its benefit on health outcomes in the older adult.
Keywords: Aging, older adult, vitamin D.