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Acta Med Scand. 1982;212(3):157-61.

Oral vitamin D and ultraviolet radiation for the prevention of vitamin D deficiency in the elderly.


Different methods for the prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency were studied in 42 institutionalized elderly people. One group received ultraviolet radiation (UVR) on a large area of the body surface once a week for three months. The results were compared with those in groups receiving either 450 IU vitamin D2 together with 420 mg calcium daily, 420 mg calcium alone, or no treatment. A significant increase in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D was obtained with UVR. A similar increase was obtained with oral vitamin D2. A small but significant decrease in serum alkaline phosphatase was observed in subjects receiving vitamin D and calcium or calcium alone. No effects on serum phosphate, urinary cyclic adenosine monophosphate and urinary calcium were seen. Though brief UVR at one-week intervals is an efficient and safe method for prevention of vitamin D deficiency in the elderly, it is in our experience time-consuming for the ward staff and thus less convenient than oral vitamin D supplementation.

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