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Relevance of vitamin D in the pathogenesis and therapy of frailty

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Purpose of review

This article reviews recently published evidence regarding the role of vitamin D in the physiopathology of physical frailty in elderly populations and its role in the management of this geriatric condition.

Recent findings

Some recent studies have found a low level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, considered the best marker of vitamin D status, in frail individuals. All prospective studies consistently report that low vitamin D status is associated with an increased risk of becoming frail. Recent studies also suggest that the relationship between vitamin D status and frailty is largely mediated by the development of sarcopenia. Very few well designed randomized controlled trials are available that assess the effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation in the prevention or management of frailty. In the absence of specific guidelines, a minimal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 75 nmol/l is proposed for frail elderly patients by some scientific societies. The doses necessary to reach this target are between 800 and 2000 IU/day.Summary

Several studies suggest a potential effect of vitamin D on physical frailty but large clinical trials are lacking at this time to provide solid evidence of clinical benefit.
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Keywords: frailty; muscle; sarcopenia; vitamin D

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Unit in Public Health, Epidemiology and Health Economics, University of Liège 2: Department of Clinical Chemistry, University of Liège, CHU Sart-Tilman, Liège, Belgium

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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