One in eight older adults are not getting enough vitamin D, a new study by researchers at Trinity College Dublin has found.
The researchers report that vitamin D deficiency increases with age, with more than a third of people over the age of 80 experiencing the issue in winter, compared to just over a fifth of 50 to 59-year-olds.
“Vitamin D deficiency is something we are very pro-active about here at the practice, said Dr Aaron Brennan, who has a particular interest in bone health. Vitamin D is very important for bone health and is thought to have beneficial health effects for muscle strength and non-skeletal health.
Dr John Morris routinely prescribes vitamin D to his patients. “It is recommended now nationally for all babies and toddlers, for some pregnant women and for breast feeding mothers”, he explained. “I also recommend it for all people presenting with low mood.”
The study, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, shows that there are wide variations in vitamin D deficiency across the different provinces of Ireland and that these are dependent on lifestyle.
“This is something that we have witnessed here in Briarhill since opening”, said Dr Brennan. “There is good evidence that a large proportion of the Irish population is vitamin D deficient for most of the year and that this is even worse in other ethnic communities living here. This is related to lack of good sun exposure (especially here in the West) and diet generally poor in oily fish.” Dr Brennan advises at risk groups to consider increasing their diet with foods fortified with vitamin D, like “Supermilk”.
To discuss whether vitamin D supplementation would be recommended as part of health promotion measures for you and your family, make an appointment to come in and discuss it with your GP.