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Med J Aust. 2006 Aug 21;185(4):195-8.

A system for improving vitamin D nutrition in residential care.

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Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA, Australia.



To assess the feasibility of administering an inexpensive preparation of vitamin D(3) 100 000 IU orally 3 monthly to aged-care residents.


Prospective, controlled open-label implementation trial.


Residential aged care, November 2003 to May 2004 (primary study).


137 ambulant residents: 107 treated (mean age, 85 years; 79 were women), 30 untreated controls (mean age, 87 years; 22 were women).


Lactose microencapsulated vitamin D(3) 100 000 IU orally at baseline, then 3 monthly (three or more doses); untreated subjects were observed contemporaneously.


Serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] at 6 months compared with baseline; acceptability of the program to residents and staff.


At baseline, 95% of residents assessed (n = 137) had serum 25(OH)D levels below the desirable range of 60-160 nmol/L. At 6 months, all treated residents (n = 98) achieved desired levels, with the mean (+/- SD) 25(OH)D level increasing from 36.4 +/- 12.6 nmol/L (range, 12-75 nmol/L) at baseline to 124.0 +/- 27.9 nmol/L (range, 68-244 nmol/L). In no resident did 25(OH)D approach toxic levels. The mean serum 25(OH)D level remained low in the control group (n = 27): 42.8 +/- 18.3 nmol/L (range, 18-98 nmol/L). The difference between the mean 25(OH)D levels of treatment and control groups at 6 months was 81.2 nmol/L (95% CI, 69.7-92.0 nmol/L). The cost of the supplement was $4 per resident per annum. Substudies showed mean trough serum 25(OH)D levels in the desired range at 3 months (n = 31), but below the desired range at 6 months (n = 50). Subjects given 3-monthly doses for up to 2 years maintained serum 25(OH)D levels within the desired range, with no trend toward undesirable accumulation (n = 11).


Vitamin D(3) 100 000 IU given orally 3 monthly is a practical, safe, effective and inexpensive way to meet the vitamin D(3) requirements of aged-care residents.

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