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Geriatrics. 2008 Apr;63(4):24-30.

Hypovitaminosis D: a widespread epidemic.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miami, FL, USA.


Vitamin D insufficiency is widespread, regardless of geographical location. It is particularly prevalent in the elderly and has far-ranging health consequences including: osteoporosis, falls, increased risk of cancer, and altered glucose and lipid metabolism. Increasing evidence strongly supports the benefits of vitamin D supplementation and also reveals that present recommendations are inadequate, especially for older individuals. Although additional studies are still needed to further optimize diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, physicians should consider prescribing cholecalciferol--at least 2000 international units (IU) per day--to all elderly patients. Oral cholecalciferol supplementation at that level is inexpensive, safe, and effective, and has great potential to improve the quality of life of the elderly.

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