This study was designed to determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in older men.

More interesting is the finding that taking vitamin D supplements didn’t help.

First, the details.

  • Randomly selected older men from 6 US communities participated in the study.
  • Blood concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 [25(OH)D2] and 25(OH)D3 were measured using mass spectrometry.

And, the results.

  • Vitamin D deficiency (less than 20 ng/mL) was present in 26% of men.
  • Vitamin D insufficiency (less than 30 ng/mL) was present in 72% of men.
    • Optimal blood levels are between 20 to 60 mg/dL.
  • Deficiency was particularly common among men under the following conditions.
    • Winter and spring (especially in northern communities)
    • Older than 80 years old
    • Obese men (greater than 25 kg/m2)
  • 86% of men who didn’t engage in lawn/garden work, had a BMI greater than 25, and vitamin D intake below 400 IU/day had vitamin D deficiency.
  • The use of vitamin D supplements was reported by 58% of men, but had a small effect on total vitamin D levels.

The bottom line?
Vitamin D deficiency is common in older men, and taking supplements is of limited value.

More about vitamin D is available at the Osteoporosis and Bone Physiology website.

4/27/09 20:11 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.