Changes in vitamin D endocrinology during aging in adults

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2017 Sep 15:453:144-150. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2017.06.005. Epub 2017 Jun 7.


Worldwide, vitamin D deficiency is a common finding. Within individuals 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OH)D) concentrations remain fairly stable over time although large differences in individual longitudinal changes exist. During aging vitamin D metabolism and activity changes in several different ways. Intestinal resistance to 1,25(OH)2D develops which hampers intestinal calcium uptake. Vitamin D receptor number decreases with aging in several organs involved in calcium metabolism and 1alpha-hydroxylase activity decreases mainly due to a decrease in renal function reducing vitamin D activation. Effects of 1,25(OH)2D on cell proliferation and differentiation may influence potential anti-cancer effects whereas regulation of telomere length may result in longevity. In older individuals, vitamin D supplementation has positive effects on fracture risk, number of falls and physical function. Supplementation in older populations warrants specific attention. Effects on "non-classical" outcomes may be revealed by ongoing large randomized clinical trials with high doses of vitamin D.

Keywords: 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D; 25-Hydroxyvitamin D; Aging; Telomere; Vitamin D receptor.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • Telomere / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / therapy*


  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • VDR protein, human
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium