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Vitamin D is a key component for optimal growth and for calcium-phosphate homeostasis. Skin photosynthesis is the main source of vitamin D. Limited sun exposure and insufficient dietary vitamin D supply justify vitamin D supplementation in certain age groups. In older adults, recommended doses for vitamin D supplementation vary between 200 and 2000 IU/day, to achieve a goal of circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (calcifediol) of at least 50 nmol/L. The target level depends on the population being supplemented, the assessed system, and the outcome. Several recent large randomized trials with oral vitamin D regimens varying between 2000 and 100,000 IU/month and mostly conducted in vitamin D-replete and healthy individuals have failed to detect any efficacy of these approaches for the prevention of fracture and falls. Considering the well-recognized major musculoskeletal disorders associated with severe vitamin D deficiency and taking into account a possible biphasic effects of vitamin D on fracture and fall risks, an European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (ESCEO) working group convened, carefully reviewed, and analyzed the meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials on the effects of vitamin D on fracture risk, falls or osteoarthritis, and came to the conclusion that 1000 IU daily should be recommended in patients at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency. The group also addressed the identification of patients possibly benefitting from a vitamin D loading dose to achieve early 25-hydroxyvitamin D therapeutic level or from calcifediol administration.

Original publication




Journal article


Aging clin exp res

Publication Date



Falls, Fragility fracture, Osteoarthritis, Vitamin D