Vitamin D deficiency is common among elderly adults, because their skin synthesizes vitamin D from the sun less efficiently. Additionally, older adults tend to spend less time outdoors.
Older adults are also at an increased risk for osteoporosis and fractures. Multiple studies have suggested that vitamin D may play a role in both. Therefore, many organizations advise supplementing with vitamin D for the prevention of osteoporosis and fractures.
The recent Dutch guidelines on osteoporosis and fracture prevention recommends taking 800 IU of vitamin D3 daily for people above the age of 50 years old and those suffering from osteoporosis. This amount is advised to achieve a vitamin D level of at least 20 ng/ml.
In a recent study, researchers wanted to determine whether this supplementation was successful in achieving the target range of at least 20 ng/ml.
The researchers enrolled 82 patients from the Netherlands. All patients were above the age of 50 with a low energy fracture and a vitamin D status below 12 ng/ml.
The patients received the recommended daily supplementation of 800 IU of vitamin D for an average of 9.8 weeks.
After supplementation, the average vitamin D status was 19.4 ng/ml. Only 45.1% reached the target level of above 20 ng/ml.
The researchers concluded, “We found that the generally recommended dosage of 800 IU of vitamin D per day resulted in suboptimal serum levels after ten weeks of treatment in more than half of the patients.”