The majority of institutionalized elderly female patients are vitamin D deficient and there is an inverse association of vitamin D deficiency and mortality, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM).
Recommendations for dietary vitamin D intake in the elderly are higher than any other age group because vitamin D deficiency is extraordinarily prevalent in this population and is considered a causal risk factor for skeletal diseases. Treatment involves the daily ingestion of up to 800 IU of vitamin D. The current study examined whether vitamin D deficiency is an independent risk factor for mortality in institutionalized elderly patients.
"Our findings show that the vast majority of nursing home residents are severely vitamin D deficient and those with the lowest vitamin D levels are at high risk of mortality," said Dr. Stefan Pilz, MD, of the Medical University of Graz, Austria, and lead author of the study. "This situation warrants immediate action to prevent and treat vitamin D deficiency."
"Vitamin D supplementation in these patients can exert significant benefits on clinically relevant outcomes such as fractures," said Pilz. "In light of our findings, and the existing literature on adverse effects of vitamin D deficiency, there exists now an urgent need for effective strategies to improve vitamin D status in older institutionalized patients."