MAYWOOD, Ill. – Vitamin D may play a vital role in the prevention and treatment of diseases associated with aging, according to researchers at Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing (MNSON). These findings were published in the latest issue of the Journal of Aging and Gerontology.
Researchers reviewed evidence that suggests an association between vitamin D deficiency and chronic diseases associated with aging such as cognitive decline, depression, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.
“Vitamin D deficiency is a common, serious medical condition that significantly affects the health and well-being of older adults,” said Sue Penckofer, PhD, RN, study author and full professor, MNSON.
Older adults are at risk for vitamin D deficiency due to diet, reduced time outdoors and poor skin absorption of the nutrient. With the number of people ages 65 and older expected to more than double from 2012 to 2060, the problem will become much more prevalent.
“Better understanding the relationship between vitamin D and chronic diseases in older adults and whether treatment of vitamin D deficiency can prevent or treat these disorders is important given the increasing number of people at risk for these health issues,” said Meghan Meehan, FNP-BC ’13, study author, MNSON.
The Institute of Medicine generally recommends that adults up to 70 years of age take 600 IU of vitamin D daily and adults over the age of 70 consume 800 IU of the nutrient daily.
Study authors concluded that as the older population continues to grow, universal guidelines for testing and treating vitamin D deficiency are needed. Research to examine the proper dosing of vitamin D supplements necessary to prevent the chronic diseases of aging also would have significant benefit for future generations.
The Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division (HSD) advances interprofessional, multidisciplinary, and transformative education and research while promoting service to others through stewardship of scientific knowledge and preparation of tomorrow’s leaders. The HSD is located on the Health Sciences Campus in Maywood, Illinois. It includes the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, the Stritch School of Medicine, the biomedical research programs of the Graduate School, and several other institutes and centers encouraging new research and interprofessional education opportunities across all of Loyola University Chicago. The faculty and staff of the HSD bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a strong commitment to seeing that Loyola’s health sciences continue to excel and exceed the standard for academic and research excellence. For more on the HSD, visit LUC.edu/hsd.