According to a recent study presented at the 2010 Experimental Biology meeting in Anaheim, Calif., a high intake of vitamin D may help preserve physical function in older adults.
For the study, Denise Houston and her colleagues from the Sticht Center on Aging at Wake Forest University assessed the relationship between nutrient intake, long-term health conditions and mobility in seniors.
Over a four-year period the researchers monitored 2,788 healthy seniors with a median age of 75. At the beginning and end of the study they analyzed each participant’s blood level of vitamin D and examined their physical function using a variety of strength and endurance tests.
At the conclusion of the research the investigators found that while physical function declined with every respondent, those with consistently high levels of the nutrient experienced a more gradual deterioration in strength and endurance.
"Those with adequate or optimal vitamin D status [the highest group] had approximately 5 percent higher physical performance scores and 5 percent faster walk speed on the 400-meter walk compared to those with insufficient vitamin D status at the four-year follow up," Houston told WebMD.