Older individuals may benefit from blood testing to measures their vitamin D levels, as a new study out of Germany suggests that the vast majority of seniors may have dangerously low levels of the nutrient.
Researcher Stefan Schilling administered vitamin D tests to more than 1,500 seniors in German nursing homes. The results showed that 89 percent had insufficient levels, while 64 percent had severe deficiencies.
Vitamin D deficiency can be a major problem for seniors because the nutrient plays an important role in the body's ability to absorb calcium. This makes it crucial to bone health. Seniors are known to be at a greater risk for fractures, even when they have normal vitamin D levels.
Schiller largely blamed the problem on a failure of seniors to get adequate sun exposure. He pointed out that vitamin D levels tend to fluctuate with the seasons in younger people, with levels dropping in the winter months when there is less sun. However, this was not seen in his participants, suggesting that there is no time of year when they get adequate sun exposure.
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