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Low Vitamin D Linked to Limited Function in Aging Adults

THURSDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- Among individuals aged 55 to 65 years, and 65 years and older, vitamin D deficiency is associated with the presence of functional limitations and functional decline, according to a study published online July 17 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Evelien Sohl, of the VU University Amsterdam, and colleagues conducted a study using two independent cohorts from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, an older cohort of 1,237 individuals aged 65 to 88 years and a younger cohort of 725 individuals aged 55 to 65 years. Questionnaires were used to assess the ability and the degree of difficulty in performing six functions of daily living. The association between vitamin D status and functional limitations was examined.

The researchers found that at least one functional limitation was present in 56 percent of participants in the older cohort and in 30 percent of participants in the younger cohort. The presence of functional limitation at baseline was more likely in those with vitamin D deficiency (defined as serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] of <20 ng/mL) than in the reference group (serum 25[OH]D >30 ng/mL) for the older cohort (odds ratio [OR], 1.7) and the younger cohort (OR, 2.2). Vitamin D deficiency was associated with an increase in limitations of function at three years in the older cohort (OR, 2.0) and at six years in the younger cohort (OR, 3.3).

"Seniors who have low levels of vitamin D are more likely to have mobility limitations and to see their physical functioning decline over time," Sohl said in a statement.

The study was partially funded by a grant from Merck.

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