A recent study conducted by American and German scientists found that vitamin D deficiency not only inhibits the formation of new bone but also accelerates aging of existing bone, according to an article in Medical News Today. The study appears in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Robert Ritchie, leader of the American team from the University of California, Berkeley, said, “The assumption has been that the main problem with vitamin D deficiency is reduced mineralization for the creation of new bone mass, but we’ve shown that low levels of vitamin D also induce premature aging of existing bone.”

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. When a person becomes vitamin D deficient, his or her body takes calcium from the bone to replenish blood calcium levels, which can lead to rickets (in children), osteomalacia, or osteoporosis. According to Björn Busse, leader of the German team and a scientist at the University Medical Center in Hamburg, “Unraveling the complexity of human bone structure may provide some insight into more effective ways to prevent or treat fractures in patients with vitamin D deficiency.”

The study highlights the importance of continually monitoring and maintaining vitamin D levels in patients who are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. The article suggests that vitamin D deficiency is a growing problem in the United States.

It is not too late to start adding vitamin D to your daily regimen. Patients 65 and older stand to benefit from everyday vitamin D supplementation. In 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggested that supplemental vitamin D combined with exercise can reduce the risk of falls in individuals who are at an increased risk. To reap the benefits, it is crucial that patients take a high enough dose as determined by a physician. The American Geriatrics Society recommends that patients with proven vitamin D deficiency take at least 800 IUs a day.


  1. BMJ-British Medical Journal (2009, October 3). Over 65s Should Take High Dose Vitamin D To Prevent Falls, Say Researchers. Accessed on July 31, 2013 from ScienceDaily.
  2. Virginia A. Moyer, on behalf of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force*; Prevention of Falls in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2012 Aug;157(3):197-204.
  3. The American Geriatrics Society. 2010 AGS/BGS Clinical Practice Guideline: Prevention of Falls in Older Persons. American Geriatrics Society. Accessed on July 31, 2013 from
By Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services