Vitamin D Improves Elderly Mobility

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., April 27 (UPI) — Elderly study participants with the highest levels of vitamin D had better physical function and mobility than others, U.S. researchers found.

Dr. Denise Houston of the Sticht Center on Aging at Wake Forest University and colleagues studied vitamin D status and physical function in a group of relatively healthy seniors, mean age 75, in Memphis and Pittsburgh.

The study tracked 2,788 seniors for four years and assessed vitamin D status by analyzing each person’s blood for 25-hydroxyvitamin D — a precursor activated vitamin D.

The researchers looked at how quickly each participant could walk a short distance about, six yards, and rise from a chair five times, as well as balance tests.

The study found physical function declined during the study period, but it remained significantly higher among those with the highest vitamin D levels at the beginning of the study.

However, Houston said it is possible those with better physical function had higher vitamin D because they were able to go outside more often and get the vitamin through exposure to sunshine.

The findings were presented at the American Society for Nutrition at the Experimental Biology meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

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