Firstly, I wish to thank the correspondents and the many other colleagues who have contacted me directly with questions and suggestions. This underlines the importance and current relevance of the topic.
In view of the dramatic vitamin D deficiency in old age, I can only support the appeal made by Pilz and colleagues in this journal—namely, to provide vitamin D supplementation for geriatric patients, and I even wish to extend this target group. Pronounced vitamin D deficiency often does not only affect residents of care homes, but also elderly patients who were still living at home before their rehabilitation treatment (1).
As recently as in January 2012, the German Nutrition Society (DGE, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung) quadrupled the recommended daily intake of vitamin D for adults from 200 IU to 800 IU, a notable increase (2). In view of the vitamin D deficiency that affects many elderly people in particular, sufficient intake of vitamin D should be ensured especially in the very old.
I am grateful to Pilz et al for supporting this recommendation. In view of the current data, it would be unjustifiable not to provide vitamin Dsupplementation with its manifold benefits, such as improved bone health and reduction of the risk of falls and fractures, to the geriatric population (3).
The costs of vitamin D are barely worth mentioning: supplementation with the daily recommended intake of 800 IU can be provided for an annual treatment cost of about 5 Euros, if inexpensive preparations are chosen.
Dr. med. Stefan Schilling
Facharzt für Innere Medizin/Geriatrie,
Geriatrische Klinik St. Irminen Trier
Conflict of interest statement
Dr Schilling has received honoraria for speaking and travel expenses from Merck Serono.
|1.||Schilling S: Epidemic vitamin D deficiency among patients in an elderly care rehabilitation facility. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2012; 109(3): 33–8.VOLLTEXT|