Vitamin D deficiency linked to mobility difficulties, disability in the elderly, study shows

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Elderly adults who are deficient in vitamin D are at a higher risk for developing mobility limitations and becoming disabled, new data suggests.

In one of the first studies to examine the link between vitamin D and the onset of mobility and disability, researchers followed 2,100 men and women aged 70 to 79 over six years. Mobility was determined by subjects' ability to walk several blocks, climb stairs and perform other activities of daily living. Investigators tested participants' blood levels at the beginning of the study.

Investigators from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center observed a 30% increased risk of mobility limitations for older adults with low levels of vitamin D, and almost a twofold higher risk of mobility disability.

"It's difficult to get enough vitamin D through diet alone and older adults, who may not spend much time outdoors, may need to take a vitamin D supplement,” Denise Houston, Ph.D., R.D., said.

The research was published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

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