Washington: Low levels of vitamin D could mean greater risk of death for older adults – especially those who are frail, say researchers.A randomized, nationally representative study found that older adults with low vitamin D levels had a 30 percent greater risk of death than people who had higher levels.Overall, people who were frail had more than double the risk of death than those who were not frail. Frail adults with low levels of vitamin D tripled their risk of death over people who were not frail and who had higher levels of vitamin D.“What this really means is that it is important to assess vitamin D levels in older adults, and especially among people who are frail,” said lead author Ellen Smit of Oregon State University.Smit said past studies have separately associated frailty and low vitamin D with a greater mortality risk, but this is the first to look at the combined effect. This study examined more than 4,300 adults older than 60 using data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.“Older adults need to be screened for vitamin D,” said Smit, who is a nutritional epidemiologist at OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences. Her research is focused on diet, metabolism, and physical activity in relation to both chronic disease and HIV infection.
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