Vitamin D enables elderly to walk post hip fracture

Vitamin D is important for bone health, and people get it through some foods, exposure to the sun and vitamin pills

By Author  |  Published: 23rd Mar 2020  4:50 pm
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According to a recent study, elderly people who are not vitamin D deficient have a better chance of walking after hip fracture surgery. The findings of the study were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study suggests that vitamin D deficiency could limit mobility in older adults, said senior author Sue Shapses, a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Researchers said that older adults take 800 international units (IU), equivalent to 20 micrograms, of vitamin D daily to prevent deficiency. Vitamin D is important for bone health, and people get it through some foods, exposure to the sun and vitamin pills.

“An important next step is learning how vitamin D affects mobility,” said Shapses. “For example, it is not clear if severe vitamin D deficiency is associated with direct effects on muscle, cognition and/or other organ systems,” added Shapses.

The multi-site study of patients 65 or older in the United States and Canada examined the influence of vitamin D levels in blood serum and nutrition on mobility. The study focused on death rate or inability to walk 10 feet (or across a room) without someone’s help after surgery.

The findings showed that vitamin D levels greater than 12 nanograms per millilitre (12 parts per billion) in blood serum are associated with a higher rate of walking at 30 and 60 days after hip fracture surgery.

The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is 600 IU daily for people from 1 to 70 years old and 800 for people over 70. “These studies suggest that too much or too little vitamin D will affect mobility and falls in the elderly,” Shapses said.