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How much vitamin D is appropriate for an 80 year old?

Everything I read is giving conflicting information.
Status: Open    Oct 18, 2014 - 07:03 AM

Senior Health & Nutrition

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Expert Answers

Oct 24, 2014 - 11:21 AM

This is a question that can be answered best by the primary care provider who treats the particular 80 year old person. The primary care provider can monitor the individual’s vitamin D blood levels and evaluate the individual’s need for vitamin D supplements.

There are many factors that affect the amount of vitamin D required by an individual. Some factors that affect vitamin D intake include where one lives, the time of year, how much vitamin D is contained in the daily diet, the health of the individual and their skin color. Obviously, people who live in northern cities during the wintertime are not able to depend upon sunshine for their daily source of vitamin D. The pigment in dark skin reduces the skin’s ability to produce adequate vitamin D. Kidney and digestive diseases can interfere with the body’s utilization of vitamin D.

The federal government recommends a daily intake of 600 IU of vitamin D for people over the age of 70. Some medical researchers believe that this recommendation is too low.

The largest source of vitamin D for many people is the regular sunlight exposure to the skin. Other sources include fish, egg yolks, and fortified milk, orange juice and cereals. Additionally, many people take daily supplements.

Adequate intake not only protects the bones, but research also indicates that there is lower risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. On the other hand, there is a concern for too much daily intake of vitamin D. Overuse can lead to kidney stones, kidney damage, bleeding, or muscle weakness.

It is not surprising that you have run into so much conflicting information. In addition to the many factors involved with the use of vitamin D, there is quite a bit of research taking place, at this time, contributing to ongoing changes in recommendations.



Nov 16, 2015 - 05:46 PM

A vitamin D3 test will be the best indicator of need. That being said, several doctors have stated that:

- over 60% of the US population is D3 deficient. Very few seniors get enough strong sun exposure to produce sufficient Vit D on their own.

- Many studies over the last 5-10 years show how critical a higher level of Vit D3 is for high quality health, especially for seniors with bone and cognition issues, and " helps the body fight cancer (especially in the breast and prostate) and props up cardiovascular health... It fights the symptoms of muscular sclerosis, fights diabetes and its effects, increases insulin production to help those with type 1 diabetes, treats rheumatoid arthritis, treats psoriasis, and helps ward off Alzheimer’s disease. And it does much, much more... The Vitamin D Council estimates that 2,000 IUs a day will probably get 75 percent to 80 percent of white Americans vitamin D sufficient if taken every day, while blacks need more due to their increased melanin pigment decreasing skin production of the hormone. But it actually recommends 5,000 IU a day for adults. The U.S. Institute of Medicine recommends 4,000 units a day for everyone over 9 years old."* Many doctors now state how woefully inadequate the Minimum Daily Requirement is for true health. Vit D3 is so cheap, and it' s toxicity is such a low probablility, unless taking much more than the above, one should assume that an elderly person not being in the HOT sun daily for half an hour a day, would benefit.

Source: Quotes from an article by Dr. Bob Livingston, August 28, 2015

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