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Old 08-04-2008, 02:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
eileen
 
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Elderly not getting enough vitamin D, study at CU finds

Despite counseling, seniors at risk of bone breaks, osteoporosis
By Suzanne S. Brown
The Denver Post
Article Launched: 08/04/2008 12:30:00 AM MDT

If you are in your sunset years, there's a good chance you are not getting enough of the so- called sunshine vitamin.
Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy, working with volunteers ages 65-89, found that when pharmacists educated the volunteers about their need for vitamin D, intake increased but still fell short of what seniors need for optimum health.
When you don't have enough vitamin D in your system you can't absorb calcium, which is needed to maintain bone health and prevent osteoporosis, says Joseph Vande Griend, a doctor of pharmacy and assistant professor who was the lead author of the study. There is also evidence that vitamin D can help prevent falls in the elderly, Vande Griend says.
Colorado's abundant sunshine — another way to acquire vitamin D — would seem to provide ample opportunity for the body to make vitamin D, but seniors don't get outdoors as much as younger people, and they also may not be getting much vitamin D from foods like milk and orange juice, which are commonly fortified with the vitamin.
For the study, pharmacists spent 15 minutes in one-on-one sessions with participants, talking about the importance of vitamin D and what foods and supplements to use to increase daily intake. They also created a written, personalized plan on how to consume 1,200 IU (international units) per day.
Participants were not given supplements, but pharmacists followed up two weeks later with phone calls to see if seniors were following the recommendations.
After 12 weeks, only 55 percent of those who got the education and follow-up calls achieved the desired vitamin D blood-level concentration, according to results published in the Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association in July.
The government recommendation of 400 to 600 IU of vitamin D isn't enough, concluded CU researchers, who suggest elderly patients get 1,200 IU per day. Of the 80 patients studied, almost three-fourths were found to be vitamin D deficient at the beginning of the study, even though the majority were getting more than the recommended daily dose.
Vande Griend says the safe upper limit for vitamin D, which is fat soluble, is about 2,000 IU per day. The 27-year- old pharmacy professor says that he takes a multivitamin and an additional 400 IU of vitamin D each day. Suzanne S. Brown: 303-954-1697 or sbrown@denverpost.com

SOURCE LINK: http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_10077938
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